Artwork > Coal Futures

Coal Futures, 2021
Hydrostone, acrylic paint, false nails, nail polish, coal, petroleum coke from the Tar Sands, core sample, dowsing rods

Coal Futures features four sculptures of witch's hands, also seen in the video works Hag's Taper, Plants of Grassy Mountain and With a finger to her lips.... Inspired by the Wicked Witch of the West and Martine de Bertereau, the first recorded European female mining engineer and mineralogist, these works are cast from the artist's hands with long black nails balancing untraditional dowsing rods. These hands rest on a core from coal drilling exploration and chunks of coal sprinkled with coking coal from the tar sands. The artwork explores the precarious balance between the past, present, and future of coal mining and resource extraction. The dowsing rods connect to the artist's familial history of water witching and the historical practice in Europe, where dowsing was used to locate underground resources such as water, mineral ores, and coal. The title alludes to stock market futures—financial contracts obligating the buyer to purchase, or the seller to sell, an asset at a predetermined future date and price. These contracts, often used to speculate or hedge against price changes, parallel the speculative nature of resource extraction.