Inspired by encounters between forensic science and the domestic environment, Haines explores our relationship with everyday objects and the insight these give into human desire, fear and mortality. Although the human is largely absent in Haines’ work, the object left behind acts an anthropomorphic portrait that like forensic evidence, tells its own story. Objects that hold a personal resonance are raised to the status of relics despite their interpretation as banal or grotesque by the outsider. This re-appropriation gives them new life and meaning. Where the figure is present, they are in some way connected to objects of importance. The title Science Without Religion is Lame, Religion Without Science is Blind is coined from an Einstein quote. Scientist Stephen Hawking and Nun Sister Hannah Benedictus sit side by side, reaching towards each other, mimicking Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Man’. Both Physicist and Nun have followed very different philosophical paths, but have both benefited from advances in human medicine and engineering.
Sanatorium is a collection of sculptures cast from small over-bed tables in a school medical centre. Graffiti scratched into the surface throughout years of illness and boredom records student’s suffering, obsession and resolve. The upturned tables resemble a school examination room or cenotaph; a memorial to those that did not survive the sanatorium.
The use of mundane materials such as discarded furniture and doorstops aims to unsettle the domestic or every day, prompting feelings of both familiarity and alienation. Like the hundreds of colourful striations in drawing Reliquary Dissected, doorstops and bird spikes offer a form of protection to the precious objects at their centre but are week membranes, delicate and prone to attack. They simultaneously shield and smother the very object they aim to protect, rendering them inept. These modes of protection inevitably imply the possibility of threat. In contrast, discarded domestic irons burn the surface of the paper in Mothers Little Helpers, a violence that is at odds with the artwork’s title.
Haines’ work exists at the intersection between the scientific and emotional. A keen microscopist, her subject is studied with scrutiny, treated like a scientific specimen and often made to look sterile despite its emotional value. It is not only dehumanized in this way but makes us question preconceived views conditioned into us from infancy.