Monday, May 14, 2012

The Natural World of Horror

(Above) Classic Griffin: components; rooster, wildcat, turkey.

(Above) North Woods Chimera: components; raccoon, wild turkey and pheasant.
(Above) Ebony Griffin: components; rooster, wildcat, turkey and antler spikes.
(Above) Mother’s Little Helper Monkey: components; monkey, wings of bird.
(Above) Der Wolpertinger: components; fox fangs, roe deer antlers, partridge wings, duck feet.

The Wolpertinger is a make-believe creature of German folklore, supposedly living in the alpine forests of Bavaria. It possesses the body parts of several common game animals; portrayed with wings, antlers, and fangs, all attached to the body of a small mammal. Stuffed Wolpertingers are common Bavarian Inn mascots, often displayed alongside real Black Forest taxidermy hunting trophies. Each village has its own set of tales about sightings of the Wolpertinger, however unlike other cryptoids (Bigfoot, Loch Ness monster, etc.) people don’t likely believe Wolpertingers actually exist – Wolpertingers hold the same place in German folklore as the Jackalope holds in the United States. Like the Jackalope, the Wolpertinger is thought to have been inspired by sightings of wild rabbits infected with the Shope papilloma virus which causes the growth of antler-like tumors in various places on the rabbit’s head and body. Wolpertinger mounts are staples in their native regions, but rarely appear in the United states or anywhere else outside their homeland. Constructed with all traditional animals components.

(Above) Ivory Griffin: components; rooster, wildcat, turkey.
(Above) Winged Bunny: components; newborn angora rabbit, dyed starling wings.
(Above) Punk Peep: dyed baby chick, two heads.

(Above) Felid Orthus: components; cats, bird wings, antlers, snake and claws of bird.
(Above) Winged Kitten: components; small cat and wings of bird.

ARTIST AND NATURALIST SARINA BREWER recycles the natural into the unnatural, breathing new life into the animals she resurrects. While earning her BFA in 1992 from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she worked predominantly with oil paint and found objects, most of which were animal remains. Preparing animal remains for use in her sculpture and abstract paintings slowly evolved into taxidermy over the course of a decade. Brewer is now a licensed taxidermist as well as a prolific artist. She volunteers her skills in the biology department of the Science Museum of Minnesota and is also engaged in various natural history related projects for other educational institutions and museums. She is a strong proponent of wildlife conservation who also participates in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

None of the animals used in Brewer’s work were killed for the purpose of using them in her art. All animal components are recycled. She utilizes salvaged roadkill and discarded livestock, as well as the many animal materials that are donated to her. Donated animals are often casualties of the pet trade, destroyed nuisance animals and pests, or animals that died of natural causes. A very strict “waste not, want not” policy is adhered to in her studio - virtually every part of the animal is recycled in some manner.

This artist has a deep respect and appreciation for animals and the natural world. She is fascinated with the circle of life and intrigued with how different cultures honor their dead and deal with death. Immortalizing loved ones (be they animals or humans ) by preserving their remains or creating sentimental remembrances out of their body parts does not sit well with the majority of western society and is unfathomable to the average thinker. Yet such practices have been the norm in many cultures throughout history and still are. Undoubtedly the average American thinks such abhorrent practices are only carried out by “savages” in primitive cultures, yet they even exist in this day and age in the “civilized” world, a well known example being the preserved remains of saints on display in Catholic Churches around the world. Point being, reverence is relative. This artist deals with death, in what is considered by most, an unconventional manner. She does not view a dead animal as disgusting or offensive. She feels that all creatures exhibit beauty in death, as well as in life, and pays homage to them by reincarnating them in her works of art. 

Brewer is a self-proclaimed science nerd who incorporates her past formal art education with her passion for biology and the bizarre. Her childhood preoccupation with cryptozoology and anomalies of nature manifest themselves in her outlandish reveries of fur and flesh and every peculiar artifact she creates. These influences, combined with a slightly dark sense of humor, have carved out an unusual niche for Brewer in the art world. She specializes in creating fictional composite animals and sideshow gaffs for discerning collectors and the many connoisseurs of the curious around the world. We now invite you to peruse the culmination of nearly three decades of the study of art and the natural sciences in her eccentric works.

Learn more about Sarina Brewer on her Web site here.


Jane Waggoner Deschner said...

Fantastic! I was disappointed, however, not to see a jackalope.

Jane Waggoner Deschner said...

Went to her website where she has several. Whew!

Maureen said...

Beautiful but, Yikes!

Stephen Romano said...

So cool! Great find John!! Kind of a cross between Meyer Vaisman and Alexis Rockman. Love the Punk Peep !


My regards from Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
How nice to see a Wolpertinger in your blog.
We call it "Der Wolpertinger" not "Das Wolpertinger".
It´s true, you can still see them in many (slightly oldfashioned) inns in Bavaria.

Albert said...

I can always count on your site for inspiration John. Thanks for the constant stream of creative insanity!!!!

cliffwill88 said...

Wheew! Thanks for these stunning posts! These combinations are cute for the sake of art, but it do look weird and disturbing! Yeah, it might express the classical myths, but we cannot deny that even if the records are great in numbers, the fact remain fact and the fantasy remains fantasy itself!

Jessica B Johnson said...

Wow, it call creativity absolutely unique ideas of art you have shared with us and there is no doubt that this work seems your perfection.
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Unknown said...

Have one of these creatures always wondered who made it and when. possibley a name for it

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