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Bruce Connew
Body of Work

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I saw a picture, a long while ago, of a draught horse stallion mounting a mare, an attendant using both hands to direct the stallion’s penis. That picture is still strong in my mind.

When I first explained my uncertain purpose to the horse stud owner, he said after my spiel, “Whatever blows your whistle.” Back in the city, my impersonations of the head breeder’s sweet-talking of a hesitant stallion—“Goood cock”, “Sheee’s cherry ripe for you”—only fostered frivolous human projections.

In the first instance, ‘Body of Work’ is about the orchestrated process of horse breeding. But, as I wriggled through the months of scrutiny, amidst the rawness of procreation, I became aware of a common anomaly in the mares being served. I came to recognise, in one mare after another, an anthropomorphic capacity to reflect. Through mournful eyes, they would make known an understanding of their peculiar predicament.

I wonder now whether this was my construction, and sprang from somewhere other than what I witnessed in the breeding barn.