Above is my finished sculpture. I used miniature crystal bowls and a wine glass to display a nest like setting. The two bowls represent an embryonic sac and a nest. To create this, I used tights and cotton wool to link to the comfort element, I then use Clingfilm to make a transparent seal that would work as the embryonic sac. The wine glass is used to display the rats in a luxurious style but also link to the idea of consumption. Due to being unable to preserve the decaying flesh the piece doesn’t emit the purity and `aesthetics I initially desired however the decaying flesh adds to the organic nature of taxidermy.
closer looking in artist statement below
My sculpture is based around the concept of the mass production of animals that are bred in large quantities to be consumed. I also incorporate the idea of adding value to life that has been rejected by society.
My initial idea began with looking into organs and the lack of respect the black market has for the fragility and valuableness of life. I then began to look deeper into the organs as a whole such as the brain, lungs and heart. I looked in depth at the ways in which these vital organs contract, pulsate and control our everyday life. I began to see the beauty in their complex composure, and wanted to create a piece that would celebrate life in a way that was raw and outrageous. Through my research of organs, I began to look into preserving health. Good health is something we take for granted and is something I wanted to draw attention to and celebrate in my piece.
However, my initial celebratory idea changed when I began to look into the nature of factory farming. It was apparent that they had no regard for life and lack concern or empathy for fellow mammals. I began to research further into the issue of “supply and demand” and found a link between mass production and consumerism. I wanted to display the lack of maternal/paternal instinct that factory farming displayed. The lack of morals in regards to animal welfare and the genetic exploitation that these animals endure to keep up with the demands of human consumption alarmed and disgusted me.which This led me to make mass production for human consumption a focal point of my project.
The sanctity of life is important to me ,and led to the decision to work with taxidermy. I became inspired by Polly Morgan’s work. The subtlety of her work in contrast to her powerful and hard hitting concept was an aspect that I wanted to mimic in my own sculpture. Taxidermy as a whole particularly interestets me as it conveys life through a physical form of death.
The entire idea of preserving death in my piece was something that I found interesting and wanted to highlight this fact by making my piece display conception. I began to use nude tights and cling film to re create an embryonic sac. I wanted to change the perception of vermin by using the innocence of the baby rats to an advantage. I wanted the beauty of pregnancy to emit through my work and highlight the similarities between human and animal motherly bond.
The baby rats are displayed in a nesting position to depict the vulnerability and underdeveloped aesthetics of them. I placed them in a breaching position to link to the human fetus in a womb. The crystal glass I created the nests in represent the idea of glorifying the rats which subverts from all social conditioning that we have for them. The shelf was painted white to empahsise their purity and virginal nature but also to highlight that their life is to be valued and not dependent on human desire.
Overall I am pleased with the final outcome I think that the idea of animals being born with the intention to be killed so that humans can consume is illustrated through the raw and touching fetal connotations. Despite the sculpture decaying I feel that the piece still radiates beauty and demands respect and focus from the viewer.
I decided that the materials I would use would be raw and organic. I wanted to use a material that would demand an emotional reaction from the audience. I decided to use baby rats also known as pinkies to display the concept of mass production and consumerism. I planned to de gut the rats and then stuff them with cotton wool to try to delay the decaying process. However, this did not go to plan as the rats were to small to cut open and I misjudged the difficulty of this process. Therefore, I had to use the rats in their defrosted fleshy form which meant as soon as they were displayed they would begin the decaying process. This situation wasn’t ideal as the piece itself was meant to display beauty however I think the decaying process relates to the works unapologetic natural personality
I was really happy with how my string pieces came out. I was intrigued by the way in which the string could represent the safety of a womb. I found the gentle and floaty nature of the string quite hypnotizing. Therefore, I began to create wombs that were based on the nature of the string as a material. I find these “string wombs” as I call them personally very appealing, I find that they are subjective as the womb image isn’t immediately obvious, however the delicate string is a main theme that runs through both pieces of work.
For the last image in my string series I returned to the previous image of mirrored underdeveloped fetuses. I wanted the string to connect and wrap around the image to resemble the wombs natural embryonic sac. I used the colour red to resemble the natural elements of labour such as blood. The natural tangle and knots in the string represent the umbilical cord and display the natural baby and mother bond. I like the womblike resemblance and safety that the string depicts as it cradles around the central image.