Rollin Bones Mixed Media on canvas Acrylic and oil paint, dice, coffee can foil, and burlap on canvas
Life is a roll of the dice and “rollin your own bones” is the game of life or an act of faith which determines your path and destiny, and the belief luck or fate is the defining factor - the Fate or destiny debate. Many believe the right place, the right time, the right circumstances and often the right risk or roll of the dice defines what and who you will become.
A Brief History of Dice Archaeologists can’t pinpoint the first human who threw dice, but they do know this: Unlike many customs that started in one place and then spread, dice-throwing appeared independently all across the populated world. The oldest known dice -dating back at least 8,000 years- consisted of found objects such as fruit pits, pebbles, and seashells. But the direct precursors of today’s dice were bone: the ankle bones of hoofed animals, such as sheep and oxen. These bones -later called astragali by the Greeks- were chosen because they are roughly cube-shaped, with two rounded sides that couldn’t be landed on, and four flat ones that could. Which side would be facing up after a toss, or a series of tosses, was as much a gamble to our ancestors as it is to us today.
The first dice throwers weren’t gamers, though -they were religious shamans who used astragali (as well as sticks, rocks, or even animal entrails) for divination, the practice of telling the future by interpreting signs from the gods. How did these early dice make their way from the shaman to the layman? According to David Schwartz in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling: The line between divination and gambling is blurred. One hunter, for example, might say to another, “If the bones land short side up, we will search for game to the south; if not, we look north,” thus using the astragali to plumb the future. But after the hunt, the hunters might cast bones to determine who would go home with the most desirable.
Is this Life a Gamble or a Calculated Choice?
The radial construct and composition of Rollin Bones is based on the roulette wheel. Various painting tools such as knives and scrub brushes were used to create a vortex effect using the texture of the paint.
A centre horizon line stabilizes the movement within a traditional landscape composition and environment. The “DESTINY” equation is revealed in a quasi-camouflaged text in the sky providing the position of the predictive, prophetic aspect of life which we wake up to (as metaphorically referenced with the everyday media of coffee can tin squares), while “LUCK” is grounded in the earth bones buried in burlap, remnants left after the flesh of existence has dissolved – the fate of the flesh equation.