Artist Statement -- Images


"I Can't Let Go of Them"

The specific works for this series came from a collaboration with a heart transplant team’s research, “Process of Incorporating a Transplanted Heart”, University of Toronto Transplant unit. This team discovered high levels of distress and identity issues in successfully transplanted patients. I accepted their invitation to be part of the project since the influence of technology on our sense of our borders and notion of ‘ourselves’ has been central to my work. Here, it is technology that makes it possible to avert death by taking another’s heart and thereafter question one’s identity. This transplant project brings this issue directly into the flesh.

In the cardiologist’s office I was startled by small hearts in stone, plastic, glass, fabric. These ‘knick-knacks’ were everywhere. Even after patients recover they repeatedly return to clinic year after year to give her these small tokens. While a living heart is beyond price, these gifts are materially worthless and at first appear inconsequential. But this betrays their power. She can identify each one, recall each story and cannot part with them as they pile up on all surfaces. Since these objects belong to the cardiologist, I invited her to annotate some prints.

I used stereography for these works to point to the power of these objects that is beyond their appearance and to resemble medical imaging: seeing inside something where normally we cannot see.

Copyright © Catherine Richards. All Rights Reserved.