DETAIL: Toots ZYNSKY 'Pennellata' 2004, 'Filet de Verre' fused and thermoformed colour glass threads
Catherine TRUMAN | Carving without portrait

TRUMAN, Catherine
Australia 1957
Carving without portrait 2005
English lime wood, paraffin wax, shu niku ink
43.0 (h) x 26.0 (w) x 10.0 (d) cm
NGA 2005.299
© Catherine Truman

The structure of the human body, and its systems of conduits and musculature, is the point of departure for the carved wood objects of Catherine Truman. Meticulously carved and painted, they resemble antique anatomical models, yet with their elusive purpose they transcend instructive biology. A jeweller by training, Truman applies a precise logic to the production of objects in which the rigidity of wood is made visually subservient to the elasticity evoked by bones and muscles. The talismanic quality of Carving without portrait alludes to a human presence, concealing and revealing at the same time. Embedded in Truman’s images of human anatomy, such notions of concealment and exposure bring life to the subject of medical illustrations and models. The tied and inverted curtain-like covering of the head and the exposed, tense musculature also bring the work into the sharp contemporary context of the displayed hostage, with its suggestion of humiliation and anonymity.

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