Myoglobin is the molecule related to hemoglobin that makes muscle red and provides extra oxygen on demand. In this piece, the structure has been conflated with a simple dish drainer. The literal basis for this conceit lies in the elaborate tertiary structure of the protein, which serves to hold a relatively small disc of heme, whose purpose is to hold the one atom of iron, which will accept and release a molecule of oxygen. Heme is a form of porphyin, which is highly conserved in nature. These groups provide many essential biochemical functions, including the conversion of sunlight to starch in plant chlorophyll. The protein carrier of heme must not just be able to hold the heme group but also make dynamic conformational changes in its 3-dimensional structure, which allow the acceptance or release of oxygen based on local conditions.
       On the level of mythology, myoglobin/hemoglobin (blood) is identified closely with the essence of life itself. As rituals of human and animal sacrifice from around the globe demonstrate, “the shedding of blood” enacts in the imagination a necessary giving of life for its own continuation. This is linked to a deep understanding that we eat life in order to live. Certainly, the Christian mythology, although more asceptic, still hangs on Jesus' saying, “He who eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood shall have eternal life.”(Jn 7:54). Both the resurrection in book and film of the Grail myth and the current fascination with vampires in popular culture express continued reflections on this mystery. However, the Twentieth Century witnessed the rise to prominence of the scientific mythology or “meta-narrative.” From a purely scientific perspective, blood has been cleansed of its many associations, and, indeed, has become a commodity, which has made modern surgery and multiple other treatment modalities a reality. The irony of blood as a consumer product, however, is that we still consume to survive. At heart, we are still humbled before the mystery of life.
       These three pieces form a triptych. They are each arranged such that the plate centers the rack's main lobes, which form a natural triskelion. The plate design shows a magnetic map of porphyrin. Two of these are in red, but the third is in black. The black design appears smaller, more pyknotic. The lobes of its rack are slightly different in conformation from the other two drainers. Less symmetrical and more constricted, the lobes of the third look relatively “dead,” or, at least, “de-oxygenated.” Thus, in the shining and sterile chromes of a mid-twentieth century kitchen's “dish drainer,” there appears the stain of ancient life/death duality.
       The tensions that are created are multifold. The heirloom plate of porphyrin, which is of such great value that it is passed down the tree of life itself to every living organism, stands in contrast to the more expansive protein structure, which varies from specie to specie (and even within individuals, as sickle cell disease points out). Turning this metaphor around, another tension lies in the exchange value society places on commodities in opposition to their use value (i.e. Grandmother's heirloom plate from which no one is allowed to eat vs. her worn dish drainer which is pitched at the moment of her death). This notion dovetails into considerations of whose table it has been from which we have derived our life and how those individuals remain living within us. In this context, the drainers, mounted as they are on the wall, also appear to be racks for displaying plates, trophies, or arms. Here, then, is both a private collection and a familial display of lineage. The dialogue between individual and family, society, and life itself can expand exponentially, asking from whom and from where we depend for our existence. However, as the scarlet on the plate insists, we are not our own.

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