Feature on the “Feral Creatures” show at The Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco, curated by Stephanie Chefas.
By Daniel Barron
The artist is a majestic yet peculiar beast. It’s strange habits are governed by instinct, it’s methods fueled by primal desires that cannot be tamed. And yet at a core level, it seeks the same thing as any other creature: creation.
Curator Stephanie Chefas, founder of the art blog Platinum Cheese, was intrigued by the connections between the human spirit and the animal kingdom when she devised the concept for “Feral Creatures,” a new exhibition opening Saturday, January 18th at San Francisco’s Modern Eden Gallery. As the press release states:
“This exhibition presents contemporary artists whose inherent aesthetic employs beasts both fierce and docile as allegorical vehicles for life’s struggles and bliss. Each artist was chosen based on their natural mystique and ability to render beauty and grace with a skillful hand. By shining a spotlight on the wild, these artists allow the viewer to examine our reality through a broad tapestry of myth, imagination, and animal behavior.”
Ten artists answered the call of the wild: Michael Page, Zoe Williams, Christina Mrozik, JAW Cooper, Michael Alm, Anita Kunz, Kikyz1313, Caitlin Hackett, Peter Gronquist, and Jason Wheatley.
“I was already working on a concept for a series titled ‘Feral’ when I was contacted to participate in the ‘Feral Creatures’ show at Modern Eden. I have had a long-time fascination with feral children mythology, lore, and the occasional confirmed account. The idea of animals or people reverting to a more ‘wild’ state is simultaneously romantic and haunting and I played with that duality with conceptualizing my pieces for the show.”
“When I think about the word ‘feral,’ I think about retuning to a place of connectedness with the body and with the earth; a reintegration into nature and a remembrance of our internal role within it. Rather than ‘wild’ being something outrageous or scary, I think of it more as that innate place within oneself. With this in mind, I’ve used a mix of internal/external themes, using organs, flowers, and life and death cycles, depicting the story of feral being as a truth within oneself.”
“I’ve always been a huge animal lover. And I think that because we share so much genetic material with other creatures we can compare and identify behavioral patterns in ourselves that negatively affect our very survival. So I’m interested in the wild animal aspect in both ourselves and other animals.”
“Animals are central to my work, so the theme was right up my alley. My pieces for the show are named for two famous sets of twins- Romulus & Remus and Cain & Abel- and deal with the ego/shadow relationship in Jungian psychology. The shadow represents the unconscious and often misunderstood aspects of one’s personality; the feral creature.
“For ‘Feral Creatures,’ I expanded on my sculpture series ‘Wooden Anatomy.’ The core process involves wet-bending thin strips of wood and gluing them to a custom-built armature, which results in these fibrous, sinewy simulations of animals parts.
Stephanie Chefas’ theme ‘Feral Creatures’ immediately resonated with me. ‘Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus)’ was the most directly inspired by this. Jackrabbits are aesthetically delicate animals but capable of explosive speed and agility. Most feral creatures have that combination of beauty and speed, fragility and explosiveness.
This is the first full animal I’ve built using this method and Modern Eden is the perfect venue to release him into the wild.”
“Feral Creatures” opens at the Modern Eden Gallery on Saturday, January 18th and runs thru Saturday, February 8th.
Learn more about past and future shows at the Modern Eden Gallery website.
Follow the Modern Eden Gallery on Twitter and Instagram at @moderneden.
For great arts and culture coverage, check out Stephanie Chefas’ blog Platinum Cheese.
Follow Stephanie Chefas on Twitter and Instagram at @platinumcheese.
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