Vore Sculpture by William Barry Roberts

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William Barry Roberts

United States


Size: 28 W x 40 H x 3 in

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Art Description

Sculpture: Mixed Media, Steel, Wax, Wood, Resin on .

Dimensions: 28 “x 40″
Medium: Stainless steel, epoxy resin plastination of dessicated apple and wood

“…For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.”

Jesus Christ; John 6:51-58

This sculpture is a juxtaposition of materials and a minor statement regarding the consuming of high technology (nature) to produce low technology (man-made). We need to look no further than a simple flower growing in the garden to witness technology beyond our understanding. The human machination of destroying one greater resource to produce a quantity of lesser commodities is truly equal to de-evolution (Devo), yet we do it relentlessly and without end. We cannot help ourselves from this lust, it is in our religions, it is in our DNA too apparently.

Had human beings and dinosaurs existed alongside one another, the extinct species would have certainly been systematically slaughtered and used for food and materiel by their human predators. There is no morsel on Earth and beyond that can escape the human desire to conquer, destroy and consume.

To create the web for this piece, I generated a CAD drawing that was then used to create a cutting path for a specialized high temperature laser that could cut stainless steel in the delicate pattern taken directly from a photograph of an orb weaver’s design. It would have been disingenuous for me to try to create a spider’s web of my own design, when the original is a flawless layout created over millions of years of natural evolution.

The part of the sculpture that represent the fragile and withering human form (biology) was made from dessicated apple flesh dried around a wooden skeleton, made from walnut and hickory branches. The parts were carved at about 200% larger than what they eviscerated to. Two part epoxy resin was then saturated into the dried apple flesh, creating a plastination of the materials. The technique is essentially the same used by the ancient Egyptians to preserve humans and other animals, however, they used natural resins rather than the synthetic epoxy that was used on this. The planned dehydrating of the apple sculpture produced a natural emaciated tautness that would be hard to plan and replicate via traditional sculptural means. It was my study in “planned chaos” using apples much like the american folk tradition of dried apple dolls. Ötzi (the Iceman), a natural mummy found in the German Alps in 1991, was referenced many times to look at where the dessication should be most pronounced. The natural discoloring of the apples and wood along with the glaze from the epoxy coating certainly looked remarkably similar to photos of the frozen corpse.

The piece was hung and observed for four years to ensure the archival quality had taken effect. Another use of dessicated/plastinated apples can be found in my other 2007 piece The Internet and Ol’ Putrefying Uncle Sam.





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