For Canadian artist Ellen Jewett, natural forms are a continual source of fascination and deep aesthetic pleasure. At first glance her work explores the more modern prosaic concept of nature: a source of serene nostalgia balanced with the more visceral experience of ‘wildness’ as remarkably alien and indifferent. Upon closer inspection of each ‘creature’ the viewer may discover a frieze on which themes as familiar as domestication and as abrasive as domination fall into sharp relief. Over time her sculptures are evolving to be of greater emotional presence by using less physical substance: “I subtract more and more to increase the negative space. The element of weight, which has always seemed so fundamentally tied to the medium of sculpture, is stripped away and the laws of gravity are no longer in full effect. In reading the stories contained in each piece we are forced to acknowledge their emotional gravity cloaked as it is in the light, the feminine, the fragile, and the unknowable.”
German artist Wolfram Kampffmeyer uses his love of computer animation and 3D modeling to to create beautiful 3D paper sculptures of polygonal animals.
“If you are sitting in front of the computer all day watching your virtual models, you start wishing to hold them in your hands.“
Kampffmeyer was so pleased by the results of his initial efforts to create a 3D paper pig that he has since been hard at work on an awesome onoing series of full-body sculptures and pieces that resemble taxidermy mounts, all ready-made to be assembled by you at home. They’re stylishly geometric while also being delightfully lifelike.
Head over to Kampffmeyer’s Paperwolf shop to view more of his DIY animals sculptures. There you’ll also find postcards, light fixtures, punch-out 2D animals, and even a few wooden polygonal animals sculptures too.
The Original “Raven” from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”
Perched on a log in the Rare Books department of the Philadelphia Free Library stands a strange piece of history. Dead since 1841, but preserved with arsenic, and frozen inside a shadow box, this bird’s legacy is longer than most people’s. His name is Grip. Grip the Clever, Grip the Wicked, Grip the Knowing.
Once Charles Dickens’ pet raven died, he had it professionally taxidermied and mounted. Grip even makes an appearance in Dickens’ lesser-known story Barnaby Rudge.
That book was reviewed by then literary critic Edgar Allan Poe. Poe wrote that “[the raven’s] croaking might have been prophetically heard in the course of the drama.” It wasn’t long after that Poe published his breakout poem, The Raven. The coincidence didn’t escape notice, and Poe was taunted with the refrain “Here comes Poe with his Raven, like Barnaby Rudge, / Three fifths of him genius, two fifths sheer fudge.”
Despite this, The Raven was a smash success and Poe enjoyed performing readings at fancy salon parties. He would turn down all the lights and recite the poem with great drama. Everyone referred to him as “The Raven”, but it would only be four years after publishing The Raven and gaining worldwide fame that Poe would be found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, dying shortly thereafter.
Today, Grip the Raven, who inspired both Dickens and Poe, can still be seen, proud as ever, in the Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book Department, along with a great collection of both Poe and Dickens originals and other rare books.
Claire Morgan was born in Belfast, North Ireland in 1980 and she is now living and working in London. Her art is really fascinating, recalling something between sculpture and installation. With obsessive precision she builds an hanging solid made by a lot of little “atoms”, little thistle and dandelion seeds, leaves or fruit flies. Every atom is fixed to an invisible string. When the viewer walks behind this suspended sculpture, the installation is moved by the air and magically the strings are opened like the curtains of a stage, showing the real work of art. Inside the solid there is an stuffed animal, freeze in one of its natural movement: you can see a crow falling down died or a barn owl flying with its triumphal wings.
Extinct animals on display at the Natural History Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Photo from Flickr: [x]
The display features a model of a dodo skeleton and taxidermy specimens of the Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, Przewalski’s horse, thylacine, and two Passenger Pigeons. Though it is displayed with extinct animals in this exhibit, the Przewalski’s horse is currently classified as endangered; it was once considered extinct in the wild.
All That Remains: A Haunting Gallery of Extinct Animals in Paris
La Salle des Espèces Menacées et des Espèces Disparues, or the Room of Endangered and Extinct Species, has 257 specimens from the animal and plant kingdoms. Many are the only remaining examples of their species, such as the skeleton of a black emu (the taxidermy is so precious that it is kept in storage). Others represent a species that is on the brink of obliteration, including the Sumatran tiger.
Artist Courtney Timmermans makes really amazing taxidermy animal heads out of thousands of air rifle BBs. The name of the project is Urban Herd.
NB: these animals were not hunted or killed. Many sculptors use taxidermy on dead beasts as a result of disease or died accidentally. These artists see their work as a kind of ode to their death. But we will always remain confused and we not endorsing the fact that they are exposed trophies. @asylum art