Totem John Mercer


These are 1.2 meters tall and made from Mahogany. The wood itself has an interesting history. (INSERT HISTORY)

The Totem one the left is of course derived from observations and sketches of real worm activity. It is fascinating to see the way they chew the wood, to follow the lines of their instinct and the  beautiful caverns and  tunnels they  create. The Totem is an abstraction, or  better a summation.


The totem on the right is an abstraction: an attempt to get to the essence of form - but in a way that reads  more acceptably in the modern world. It has the feel of planning and  precision but is actually  more or less random in thawed the lines and holes were planned. The only structural device  used was to  regularise the vertical lines in to five even spaced lines per side. The holes are drilled all the way through. What one observer whimsically called  'Digital woodworm'.  I like that enough to quote is here.



 'A Totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a familyclan, lineage, or tribe. The totemic symbol may serve as a reminder of the kin group's ancestry or mythic past'

That's probably enough to show what I am up to for more go to the  Wiki article itself.

I like the idea of the worm creating their own totems but it is not that. It is me looking for pure and engaging abstract form based on observations from nature. 

This is the world as we find it.  This is what we see and who knows why some observed or invented forms excite us in ways we cannot pinpoint.   I have (for example) always found images and devices of clockwork to be fascinating. I see many links between the  image of woodworm, and the images of  electronic circuits and logic boards. We speak then of cultural resonances then we are quickly back to the idea of totem.

Totem John Mercer Artist