Bone Scattering


By 1983, Charles Strong began the Bone Scattering series.  These works, exhibited to a greater extent than many of his others, are compelling, unsettling creations that reference the complex, instinctual habits that elephants have when, encountering bones or remains of their own species, they cradle and fondle them, often carrying them some distance before leaving them behind.  The artist explored this imagery through a series of monoprints as well as through many canvases.  The precise definition of the foreground images evince bloody, shattered tusks, or tusks branded with Asian-appearing idiograms.  This powerful symbolism, representative of the illicit trade in endangered animals and body parts, is further energized by active background fields of expressionist movement, and is heightened by the return of the spirit-line, at times lovingly entwining the tusks, at other times wielding a strangulation hold. (1)

 

Fissure of Memory, 1983, acrylic on canvas, 79.5" x 115"

 

 

Boiling Sea, 1983, 57" x 85"

 

 Ancestral Longing, 1983, acrylic on canvas, 78.5" x 116"

 

Bone Scattering series Untitled B

 

Cellular Memory, 1983, acrylic on canvas, 67.5" x 102.75"

 

Rolling Thunder, 1983, 67.5" x 102"

 

(1) Fire and Flux, An Undaunted Vision: The Art of Charles Strong, by Jo Farb Hernandez and Paul J. Karlstrom, with an Introduction by Steven A. Nash