|"Scapula #5" Buffalo|
|"Tryptich" Harte-beast (center) and Springbok|
There is something very primal about our response to skulls and skeletons. Drive through any part of American ranch land and you're bound to see cow skulls placed conspicuously here and there on people's property. Walking in arid lands you may happen upon the sun bleached remains of some predator's prey, and if you're like me, you'll almost certainly stop to examine it more closely. If there's a complete skull there's an almost overwhelming desire to DO something with it. Why? Of what use is it? Such a practical consideration cannot get at the answer. Skulls stripped of all flesh and fur are like totemic objects imbued with a curious magic for the human mind. Portland, Oregon artist Jason Borders is drawn into this magic and then draws it out, heightening its effect with meditative scrollwork designs dremeled into the bone which is then stained and polished. The designs remind me of Maori face tattoos and Australian aboriginal art. There was a time in our ancient past when the difficulties of daily life demanded a kind of sequestration of thought. One might labor intensely for hours or days at an important task, not wrestling with the ever present possibilities of death or injury or the gnawing exigency of an empty belly. The task at hand must done with absolute concentration to ward these things off. This same kind of focused yet free-form unselfconscious energy was also brought to their art. Jason Borders has found a way to replicate this kind of creativity and remind us of roots that go very very deep.
His work is currently on display at Antler Gallery in Portland, unfortunately for only one more week. The walls displaying the work have also been subtly painted by the artist with the same style of line work adorning his skulls and bones. If you get a chance you really must drop in and check it out. If you can't make it on the weekend, the gallery is conveniently open until 7pm every day of the week.
You can see more images of the artist's work on his website: www.jasonborders.com (but be warned, the images are large hi-res files which can take take a while to load if your connection is slow). You can also see images online at: www.antlerpdx.com/jason-borders.html