Stains and Guts, 2009
Stains and Guts were made at the Burgess Shale fossil beds near Field in British Columbia. They explore some of the 145 ancient creatures discovered at these Canadian Rocky Mountains fossil beds and some of the high altitude locations associated with them. These bizarre, outstandingly preserved Precambrian fossils have greatly enhanced understanding of early evolution. See Burgess Shale blog.
The small paintings that form this collection are painted on playing cards (mounted on canvas) to mimic ‘carte de visite’. The use of the playing cards also hints at the ongoing controversy about evolution as chance or inevitable.
Carte de Visite
The carte de visite was a small visiting card size photograph developed in France. By 1859 they had become a mass phenomenon in Europe – the same year as the publication of Origin of Species. ‘Cardomania:’ the craze to collect and exchange these cards continued around the world until 1880. Subject matter was diverse ranging from family portraits and celebrities to war imagery and ‘exotica’. The latter included formal portraits, as well as settler and colonial locations. These also went into wide circulation and compared racial and cultural ‘types,’ just as Darwin’s theory was also circulating about our common descent.