Saturday, December 28, 2013

BEAUTY: Sculpture--Kate MacDowell

Internationally renowned sculptor Kate MacDowell says she is interested in the conflict between the romantic ideal of union with the natural world and our contemporary impact on the environment. Her mutant creations eerily combine human and animal or human and plant in a way that transcends both.

MacDowell says, "These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. In some pieces aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world. In others, animals take on anthropomorphic qualities when they are given safety equipment to attempt to protect them from man-made environmental threats. In each case the union between man and nature is shown to be one of friction and discomfort with the disturbing implication that we too are vulnerable to being victimized by our destructive practices.

I hand sculpt each piece out of porcelain...It highlights both the impermanence and fragility of natural forms in a dying ecosystem, while paradoxically, being a material that can last for thousands of years and is historically associated with high status and value. I see each piece as a captured and preserved specimen, a painstaking record of endangered natural forms and a commentary on our own culpability."

Top to bottom: Assisted Living 2; Assisted Living; Badgered; Casualty; God of Change; Panhandlers; Predator; Predator detail; Strange Fruit

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