“The trust you handed over”
buckeye, leather, brass, steel, Mylar, and rubber
This sculpture is part of a larger body of work entitled “Domestication for Survival.” The works uses specific animals as metaphor to investigate the roles within a family dynamic. “The trust you handed over” is in part, an apology.
This body of work started with the domestication of wolves into dogs. Transitioning from an animal you would not trust or desire in your home, to a companion you feel is safe and could cuddle. This does not mean that they are not dangerous. It is an understanding that the threat is in the right place and directed away from you.
At the time I was working with drawings of myself shaving. As well as working on a large drawing of my wife with scissors in her hand surrounded by rabbits. The idea of shaving (removing ones own wildness) was conceptually linked to the wild dog and the ideas of masculinity. I thought about other animals that we keep, specifically ones of a feminine nature. I instantly thought of rabbits. How they hold a strong juxtaposition, they are both soft and tough, cautious and brave, content and wild. It was only after thinking of the wild dog and the rabbit as partners together did I realize that some could see them as predator and prey.
Unlike a dog, a rabbit’s teeth continually grow. The teeth must be properly aligned or else they will not wear against themselves (or other items). Without this wear the rabbit will damage itself without its own consent. Orthodontic headgear is designed to correct one’s bite and support proper jaw alignment. In contrast to braces or other forms of orthodontia, it is an apparatus that exists outside the body to control the inside. Pulling against ones own body to stay stable.
I cannot and should not speak to the experience of being a rabbit. I can speak to what is like to unknowingly chase one.
There is a lifetime’s worth of learning about how to be a partner. The dog exists for the rabbit and the rabbit exists for the dog. The dog must be trustworthy, otherwise the rabbit will never come out and share her true self. The rabbit must be patient, for the control of the teeth is something that takes time and intentionality. The dog must find beauty in the headgear and see the adjustments as a gift to take part in. They must live for each other.