The iconic display of a head, severed and mounted on a stick, is ubiquitous as a representation of ominous primordial savagery. Cliché in its references to cannibalistic ritual, human sacrifice or cautionary symbolism, its general structure also contains rich connotations to formal art- a 3-dimensional image-object, laden with material and conceptual possibility.
For the purposes of this project, curators Paul Nudd and Scott Wolniak have adopted the concept of Heads on Poles as an open guideline to direct broad responses from a large group of artists. Over four dozen artists, ranging widely in discipline and style, were invited to produce sculptures loosely based on the formula of Head On Pole, in any material. These totem-objects will be simply placed, as casually clustered bodies, throughout the main gallery space of Western Exhibitions.
Additional artists have been asked to respond to the same theme with graphic works for a concurrent print project.
Through collective effort and the idea that creative freedom can occur within structural uniformity, Nudd and Wolniak hope to achieve a complex and immersive spectacle. Diverse interpretations are anticipated, with possible outcomes such as conceptual objects, portraiture, obscenity, abstraction, political gestures, humor and horror. With no attempt on the part of the curators to control submissions after the initial call for participation, the final group of works will be a surprise for all.