CHRISTINE BORLAND at the Art Gallery of York University (Ross Building, 4700 Keele) to January 20. 416-736-5169. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
in our brave new world of cloned human embryos and genetically altered potatoes, science is a rich laboratory for art. Using materials that appear to be fragile but are in fact quite resilient -- glass, bone china, spider's silk -- Scottish artist Christine Borland's conceptual, poetic sculptures create an anatomical garden of rather grave objects.
Three white china pelvises cradling teacup-like fetal skulls, cast from obstetrical models and painted with vivid blue sailing ships, birds and vines, remind us that our beautiful English dinnerware is made with bone ash.
Borland worked with forensic experts to reconstruct two heads in bronze from unidentified human skulls.
A year in Belfast inspired works like Bullet Proof Breath, a blown glass "bronchial tree" wrapped in transparent spider's silk.
The piece Home Made Bullet Proof Vests has fun with the cotton undershirts British children are required to wear as protection from the cold.
Spirit Collection: Hippocrates -- nearly 100 tear-shaped glass containers filled with skeletal bleached leaves floating in alcohol, suspended from the ceiling like a formal chandelier -- is as beautiful as alien fruit and as eerily enticing as a lab exhibit.
The leaves, picked from a tree at Glasgow University said to have been grown from seeds of the plane tree under which Hippocrates taught, bring home the message in the bottle.