Australian artist Julia deVille has created a menagerie of ethically-sourced animals. From pure white piglets dusted with flower petals, fawns sleeping on silver platters, to kittens pulling funeral hearses, and even a Puss in Boots– her taxidermy sculptures are like something out of a Victorian period fairytale. She titles this ongoing series “Disce Mori”, a twist on Memento Mori, the Latin phrase for reflecting on one’s morality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life. In their vanity, her works combine deceased animals with precious gems, metals and fine antiques.
Rainbow-colored mannequin legs, animal bones, skulls, and gold- these are just a few of the materials used in John Breed’s eclectic installations. If his choice of medium sounds frenzied, it might stem from his creative background. Now based in the Netherlands, Breed received training from a calligraphy master in Kyoto, Japan, before he moved to New York to take on graffiti, paint frescos in Rome, and study landscape painting in China. A world traveler and natural born experimenter, every piece that Breed creates is a culmination of his extensive skill set.
French artist Frederique Morrel (Vol 28) breathes new life into old taxidermy. She calls it the animals’ revenge, under appreciated as a stuffed head on a wall and reborn as something to be admired. Simultaneously, the dying art of embroidery is made new and contemporary. To Morrel, her sculptures symbolize a reimagining of oppulence, bringing to mind artists Olek and Karley Feaver. Morrel’s concept may sound simple: repurposing vintage tapestry that she collects from second-hand shops and covering animals with it, but it’s not.
Peter Gronquist recently made a considerable departure from his recognizable taxidermy sculptures with “The Great Escape” (previewed here). His latest collection, now on view at Joseph Gross Gallery, is an abstraction of his former self with the same signature playfulness. Gronquist calls the experience of working on the show liberating, a chance to satisfy creative impulses. While his new style may feel sudden, it has actually been a year and a half in the making that was encouraged by comissions for abstract art.
Opening tomorrow at Joseph Gross Gallery, Peter Gronquist’s “The Great Escape” marks a departure from the taxidermy animal sculptures that he’s known for. The exhibition will feature a series of color-field-like paintings on plexiglass, as well as abstract 3D pieces and free-standing animal sculptures. As these works are so dramatically different from his previous pieces (featured here), it is a remarkable change for Gronquist that links his past and present artwork.