Madeline McGloin

"Reliquary of Thought"

Class of: 2025

Major: Architectural Design BFA

Medium: Wire / metal sculpture

Faculty: Carol Peligian

Prompt: The prompt was to conjure a work that honors or enhances a part of the body that is considered sacred in either an implicit or explicit rendering.

The most sacred part of my physiological existence, in this lifetime, is the active presence of my brain and consciousness. With this in mind, I pursued the concept of constructing a beautified reliquary for my thoughts–which became realized as a human brain. Over 8 hours were dedicated to the perforation process for the aluminum sheets I used; my weapon of choice was an X-Acto knife. I took extreme care in handling the thin 24 gauge copper wire that I would sew the structure together with. My hands did not make it out without several tetanus-esque wounds and disheveled nails. To connect the center of the brain to its plinth, I used a thin aluminum tube that I further reinforced with steel wire strung through it. A thin sheet of plastic lies upon the light wood of the aforementioned plinth to enhance the reflective quality of the textured exterior. I made sure to leave space for consciousness to fill the interior, such as how a spirit inhabits the entirety of the human body.

My final product exceeded my imaginative expectations by far, and I feel as though I embodied my dreams of beautifying the pink and grey matter that stores my human experience. The human brain is often concealed, and its physical appearance is rarely on display. I materialized it in such a way that it captures and transmutes the light around it into captivating shadows and beams of light. Symbolically, this sculpture is a manifested sanctuary for my knowledge and consciousness that I regard so highly.