Cassidy Toner – Possum10.4.19 – 22.5.19
Thanatosis, colloquially known as faked-death or "playing possum", is when an animal takes on the appearance of being dead. There’s also a long history of people faking their deaths to avoid legal or financial troubles. Some people just desire to start a new life, free from the burdens of their former one. Still, others use it as a way to symbolically kill their former self, much like Harold in the movie, Harold and Maude.
In the final scene Harold’s car is seen going off a seaside cliff, but after the crash the camera pans up and reveals Harold calmly standing atop the precipice. After gazing down at the wreckage, he dances away, playing Cat Stevens’ song, “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out”.
Well, if you want to sing out, sing outAnd if you want to be free, be free'Cause there's a million things to beYou know that there are
And if you want to live high, live highAnd if you want to live low, live low'Cause there's a million ways to goYou know that there are
You can do what you wantThe opportunity's onAnd if you can find a new wayYou can do it todayYou can make it all trueAnd you can make it undoYou see, ah ah ahIt's easy, ah ah ahYou only need to know
This show is comprised of several light boxes and one sculpture that, not unlike the possum, turn-off (fake their death) when they are approached. Every time you walk away the work awakens from its state of thanatosis. The work has a bit of performance anxiety. It wants to be seen and at the same time desires to hide. So, for this exhibit the work has agreed to a compromise, you can see it from a distance, but when you get too close it’s allowed to conceal itself.
Cassidy Toner, Pseudocide (After Thomas Cole's The Oxbow, 1836), 2019
Cassidy Toner, Pseudocide (After Thomas Cole's Mountain Sunrise, Catskills, 1826, 2019
Cassidy Toner, Pseudocide (After Frederic Church's Above the Clouds at Sunrise, 1849), 2019
Cassidy Toner, Playing Possum, 2019
Cassidy Toner, Neon Sign, 2019