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Flesh & Bones merges biology and art

Calling all biology and fine arts students, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery has a treat for you!

The gallery’s new Flesh & Bones: Permutations Of The Human Form exhibit shows the wonders of the body through art. Terry Graff, the gallery’s curator, explains that this exhibit came together from their permanent collection.

“We have a collection of around 3500 works of art, so it provides a great source to draw upon. There are a lot more pieces we could have chosen, but the idea was to create an exhibition that presented Canadian and British contemporary and modern works of art,” said Graff.

While the pieces in Flesh & Bones are mostly paintings, the exhibit also has a selection of sculptures, drawings and photography.
Don Bonham is an artist who lived in London, Ont. and Toronto for a number of years and now resides in New York. He thinks the best art comes from the natural body.

“The body is probably the finest machine ever made. I’ve been amazed by engineering and technology. We know that we can make almost the equivalent of an arm, so it’s interesting to see what arts perspective of the body and its motions are,” he said.

Bonham’s sculpture, Ham, Son of Noah II, is one of 27 pieces in the exhibit and is made of wood, fiberglass, and light metal. The series also has paintings by some well-known Maritime artists, such as Mary Pratt, Christopher Pratt, Alex Colville, and Bruno Bobak.

Graff agrees that the body is a common and a great part of art culture.

“The body is an obsession for some artists. Some look at the idea of beauty in various cultures. Others have found that by representing the body, they can express something internal,” he said.

“Art is a mirror and it can tell us something about the time that they were created and the human condition.”

The exhibit also examines the inner workings of the body, including cell development and the new advancements in plastic surgery, cyborg science and virtual reality.

Bonham was inspired by the beauty of the everyday man to create his piece in 1997.

“I saw a young man and his father and his face was so captivating. I asked the father if I could cast his son’s face in a mold. He agreed and that’s how I based my project around. I’ve used the face many times now,” said Bonham.

Graff thinks everyone should come out and take advantage of this intriguing exhibit.

“We try to present a large spectrum of the visual arts. This exhibition brings you to a place where you can confront actual works of art; where you get scale and texture. It`s a physical experience. It gives you time to slow things down and do internal reflection. The gallery is always changing so students should enjoy it.”

Flesh & Bones: Permutations Of The Human Form is on display until April 20. Admission to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is free with a valid Student ID.

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