Sunday, May 27, 2012

Young Me, Now Me

Click on any image for larger view.

Click on any image for larger view.

Click on any image for larger view.

HERE’S A INTERESTING TAKE ON SNAPSHOTS. FIND A PICTURE OF YOURSELF from some time in the past and repose that image today. Upload those “before and after” pictures to a public site. Time marches on.

Go to Young Me, Now Me here.

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.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Love of Someone’s Life

HERE IS A REALLY ODD, COPPER ENCASED SILHOUETTE, CIRCA 1820, of a woman with a huge head and tiny little flipper-like hands. Turn the small oval frame over and you will find a finely interwoven, heart-shaped design in braided hair with the initial “M” in the middle of the hearts. Probably a love token, this object was spotted on eBay.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ape Typologies

(Above) Forty different apes pose for photographer James Mollison. Click image for larger view.

Click any image for larger view.

Click image for larger view.

Click image for larger view.

WHOEVER SAID ALL APES LOOK ALIKE? Photographer James Mollison shows us 40 straight-on mugshots of various species of apes. Together, we can see the physical differences in, and dare I say, variety of personalities?

Here is what James has to say about his project:

“While watching a nature program on primates I was struck by their facial similarity to our own. Humans are clearly different to animals, but the great apes inhabit that grey area between man and animal. I thought it would be interesting to try to photograph gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans using the aesthetic of the passport photograph- its ubiquitous style inferring the idea of identity.

I decided against photographing in zoos or using ‘animal actors’ but traveled to Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia to meet orphans of the bush meat trade and live pet trade.”

James Mollison was born in Kenya in 1973 and grew up in England. After studying Art and Design at Oxford Brookes University, and later film and photography at Newport School of Art and Design, he moved to Italy to work at Benetton’s creative lab, Fabrica. His work has been widely published throughout the world including by Colors, The New York Times Magazine, the Guardian magazine, The Paris Review, The New Yorker and Le Monde.

His latest book Disciples was published in October 2008 following its’ first exhibition at Hasted Hunt Gallery in New York. In 2007 he published The Memory of Pablo Escobar- the extraordinary story of ‘the richest and most violent gangster in history’ told by hundreds of photographs gathered by Mollison. It was the original follow-up to his work on the great apes – widely seen as an exhibition including at the Natural History Museum, London, and in the book James and Other Apes (Chris Boot, 2004). Mollison lives in Venice with his wife.

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