The sensation of objects

Painting of box of false porcelain teeth

Cavity, oil on canvas ©Helen Stone 2020

Teeth are funny things aren’t they? Fundamental to our ability to eat and therefore our very survival.

We’re gifted two sets and can’t wait to be rid of the first. Wiggling and tugging, prodding with our tongues, waiting for the tooth fairy to compensate our losses.

In time, it is our turn to pay, rewarding the dentist who can prolong what remains; filling, drilling, capping and crowning.

In dreams, we spit mouthfuls of the things said to indicate the fear of losing something precious and an inevitable loss of power.

I created Cavity as part of a series of little memento mori. Like teeth, we will all be lost some day.  

I was drawn to painting this vintage set of porcelain false teeth. They sit glistening in their little red wax rows, jewel-like, enticing as pearls. Dr Trey was on to something. False teeth existed before these porcelain wonders; they were plucked from cadavers and peasants and robbed from graves until 50,000 fallen soldiers in the battle of Waterloo provided teeth of better quality. They no longer had use for them.

Like teeth, we will all be lost one day.

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