137,80 x 35,43 x 25,59 in
350,0 x 90,0 x 65,0 cm
Totem embodies the principle of the material defining the form. Its symmetrical shape represents an amorphous totem, an abstract sculpture resembling the traditional ritual structures created by peoples from the Pacific Northwest Coast. Totems are carved from a whole tree trunk which imposes restrictions upon the form, making it exclusively vertical and round, meaning that certain images must be adjusted to fit this format. However, Osmolovsky’s work has lost any figurative aspect becoming an abstract sculpture with only a token association with the totemic form remaining. The ritual nature of the totem implies a cultic dimension, but Osmolovsky’s totemic sculpture is deliberately mute and cipherlike. Rather, this carved wooden work asks to be understood in terms of its making and material, giving priority to form over function.