Murielle Belin’s dark-surrealist polyptychs are striking blends of oil painting, sculpture, woodworking, and other disciplines. “Calendrier Perpetual,” in particular, shows the artist’s abilities in taxidermy and building, with different corners of the piece offering surprises.
Wisconsin based artist Kelly Jelinek combines the art form of taxidermy with upholstery to create her colorful and unusual animal sculptures. The name of her art studio is derived from the artist’s last name, Jelinek, which means “little deer” or “little stag” in Czech, so it might seem no coincidence that she feels a strong connection to nature. But even more importantly, her work is faux and kill-free, and as a lifelong animal lover, she remains committed to making art that preserves the fantasy of animals while they were still alive.
We are in the season where skeletons appear everywhere, in every iteration from the cute to the eerie and downright disturbing. Philadelphia based artist Caitlin McCormack delicately crochets replicas of animal remains that make us look at skeletons in a new way. Her vintage-looking works embody both the beauty and eerie qualities of skeletons, while evoking the spirit of the life they once had. On October 23rd, she will exhibit a new series of crocheted skeletons in her upcoming exhibition at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia. Titled “Mnemosyne”, named after the Greek goddess of memory, McCormack’s works explore the idea of reconstructing memories.
Jason Borders’s carved animal skulls are morbidly fascinating. While the ornate, lace-like patterns he engraves into the bone draw viewers in with their beauty, it’s easy to become repulsed when you truly think about the origins of his materials. “A large part of what I do involves a familiarization with death,” he says. “My belief is that, as painful as it can be, looking directly at death helps you to live your life with intent and purpose.” While, in Western culture, we tend to remove death as far away from ourselves as possible, perhaps a more holistic way of thinking about it is to view it as part of our existence. In using animal remains to create something new, Borders’ work reminds viewers of the cyclical nature of life.
Like it or not, taxidermy art has been around for generations and is a fascinating genre. Now on view at La Luz de Jesus Gallery is their 3rd Biennial Taxidermy Show which honors these surprisingly opulent and sometimes horrific specimens. It’s important to note that they were sourced ethically, meaning no animals were killed during the creation of the artwork. Don’t be quick to assume that these artists are glamorizing death. Ironically, they breathe new life into the form and capture a moment in time.