Timothy Horn’s virtuosity recalls those baroque artisans and collectors who, in their folly, sought to disfigure and exceed nature. This folly is our inheritance – an inheritance of loss. Gorgonia 5 (full fathom five), from 2015, in the Art Gallery of South Australia’s collection was inspired by Horn’s visit to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in 2008, where he witnessed the deleterious effects of climate change on the coral that forms the world’s largest living structure. Just like the victims of the Gorgons, who were transformed into stone, coral bleaching has left the reef petrified and lifeless.
A hair-ornament pattern by Légaré provides the starting point for Tree of Heaven 8 (Trident), 2018 a new work made for Divided Worlds. Horn magnifies and augments the pattern before creating the structure in wax and casting it in bronze, which is then nickel-plated to transform its surface and its associations. In this instance Horn’s subtitle leads us to a human-made catastrophe – to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 and to the Trident tree, a veteran oak tree located close to the reactor and characterised by the distinctive three-pronged growth pattern.