I first used animal fur in my work over a decade ago to explore themes of Canadian history (the historical fur trade) and Canadian identity. These initial “fur portraits” represented people who were important to that history, such as members of the French and English monarchy, and early prime ministers.
I have recently returned to fur as a medium, but am now working exclusively with mink fur to explore facets of feminine identity. And, instead of depicting famous individuals, I am executing mink self-portraits as well as portraits of women in my day to day life. These women are my friends and my family that all manage to juggle the intense but often under-appreciated complexity of their lives as women, professionals, and mothers.
Mink is the epitome of luxury, an embodiment of the feminine, and a potent symbol of the male/female power relationship. Within the matter of each mink portrait is the the flesh, hair and DNA of beings that have been destroyed, mummified and immortalized for their beauty. The material instills its damned paradox into each artwork. It is exploited. It is revered. It is the softest manifestation of power, and the sensual result of violence.