Octavia Carney


After an extensive first-hand experience in the healthcare system last year due to a spinal injury, my work investigates the tension between the human body’s incredible ability to endure and heal while at the same time exhibiting extreme fragility. Once that fine line is crossed and one’s health is compromised, the number of solutions offered by western medicine can prove to be very limited, often invasive and very expensive, leaving many individuals seeking their own forms of healing through diet and other holistic practices. In nature, an animal’s survival is a direct consequence of their interaction with their world. I find nature to be a great source of spiritual strength and in my work strive to bring that aspect together to contrast the frigid sterility and inaccessibility found in modern medicine.
Working sculpturally, I explore these ideas primarily through the casting process with metals as well as plaster, rubber, and concrete. The increasing number of defects found in making multiple versions of an object or artifact, or even just one, reflects the imperfections and inevitable decay found in the body and nature over time. The process also allows me to entertain the illusion that I have control over those aspects, while at the same time forcing me to relinquish it. Metal is an enduring material that will exist long after my life ends. Even though there are weak points in the other materials during the process, ultimately once a work is transformed into metal those imperfections are no longer as pervasive. I have explored 3D printing as well as a way to investigate how this process is manifested digitally. For example, because western medicine so heavily relies upon technology and machines to indicate pathology and ‘fix’ patients, often overriding the patient’s actual claims themselves, I have allowed a machine to dictate everything about the way in which a work is represented. Each of these processes and materials has helped me to formulate different connections and relationships found between nature, the physical body and modern medicine’s pathological approach to it.

-Octavia Carney

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


HTML tags are not allowed.