Tim Hawkinson
left: EGG, 1997
Finely ground fingernails and hair, super glue 1x1.5x1 in.

right: BIRD, 1997
Fingernails and super glue 2x2x1.75 in.

Meticulously realistic, these miniscule sculptures are executed with consummate skill. Along with a feather and a delicate spider's web, they use the artist's hair and fingernails to create a naturalistic illusion, and through this transformation they point beyond the individual identity to Nature. Yet, the Self as represented by the body provides the material of which the illusion is made. It has been argued that if the Self is an inescapable filter, each of us can never know with absolute assurance what lies beyond our own perception and experience. Through language we establish points of agreement and difference, delineate Truth, and function as social beings. In this sense, the artist has it right. Assuming that we can't escape the Self, we must find ways to put it to good use - or at least confound its meaning.