Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

House of Beasts at Attingham Park, Atcham, Shrewsbury, UK

by Suzanne on August 1st, 2011


1 - Evacuate by Kate MccGwire, bird feathers coming out of pot - click to enlarge

When news reached me a month ago that Meadow Arts were curating a year-long site-specific group show of taxidermy, sculpture and installation art entitled House of Beasts at the breathtaking Attingham Park in Shrewsbury (Charles Darwin's birthplace - how perfect!), I knew that there was still hope that the Elder Gods can indeed hear our prayers and pleas for great art exhibitions in the UK and do receive our sacrifices.


2 - Foreground: Untitled (Sphere) by Alastair Mackie, mouse skulls, wood, glass, courtesy the artist and All Visual Arts / Background: Herd by Susie MacMurray, cut antlers, silk velvet, Meadow Arts Commission 2011 - click to enlarge

House of Beasts is way more than land-art meets Wunderkammer though - Meadow Arts have managed to create a surreal fictional space where taxidermy becomes alive and sculpture becomes organic.


3 - Refuge by Nina Saunders, taxidermy fox, upholstered armchair, courtesy David Roberts Collection - click to enlarge - click here for detail

Where Nina Saunders' little fox (picture 3) just stretched its paws and yawned, where Tessa Farmer's insect warriors battle fearlessly with their porcupine spine spears, where Daphne Wright's swan (picture 7) is drying its feathers after an invigorating swim in the River Tern, where Polly Morgan's magpie (picture 5) just picked up the phone, where Kate MccGwire's leech-like feather blob (picture 1) is spooking and creeping around the house like it's trapped in some Edward Gorey book or Ray Caesar artwork.


4 - Chandelier (Katy’s Convoy) by Nina Saunders, chandelier with taxidermy birds, courtesy the artist - click to enlarge

I've had a long love and passion for artists combining bone and filigree with taxidermy, so I immediately knew this would work perfectly at an old manor house like Attingham Park but when I saw the line-up of artists, I did need to reach for the smelling salts, it is that amazing.


5 - One for Sorrow by Polly Morgan, bakelite telephone and taxidermy magpie, courtesy the artist - click to enlarge

Featured artists include:

*INHALES* Ruth Claxton, Mat Collishaw, Tessa Farmer, Rachel Goodyear, Kathleen Herbert, Alastair Mackie, Susie MacMurray, Kate MccGwire, Polly Morgan, Nina Saunders, Anj Smith, Daphne Wright *EXHALES*.


6 - The Beast in Me by Mat Collishaw, digital photograph, courtesy Anne Faggionato - click to enlarge

Yeah, I know, right? A plethora of reasons to drag yourself to Shropshire before mid-July 2012. Details below.

Many thanks to Anne de Charmant, director of Meadow Arts for the in-situ image material.


7 - Swan by Daphne Wright, cast marble dust, Meadow Arts Commission 2007 - click to enlarge

On show: Jul 2, 2011 - Jul 15, 2012

Address: House of Beasts at Attingham Park, Atcham, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 4TP, tel: 01743 708123 (INFOLINE), email: attingham@nationaltrust.org.uk | Exhibition map

Press release | Exhibition map

WurzelForum discussion

Alice Anderson's Childhood Rituals at Freud Museum, London

by Suzanne on March 30th, 2011


Housebound by Alice Anderson, site specific sculpture made of 3000 metres of dolls' hair, 2011 - Photo by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

You may have noticed that I'm posting events that are still a few weeks ahead of us. That's mainly because I will be off to my home town of Lucerne in a few days to attend the Fumetto Comics Festival! Weeeee!

Anyways, I'll be back in time for Alice Anderson's (previously featured here) amazing Childhood Rituals installation made of 3 km of dolls' hair wrapped around London's Freud Museum - with new sculptural pieces being on show inside the museum.

Alice Anderson about her work:

“I remember the terrible fears I used to have when I was a child left alone at home for many long hours waiting for the return of my mother. At that time I invented rituals for myself to calm my anxieties. These rituals consisted of undoing the thread from seams and I wound these threads around parts of my body and other objects. This obsession became so bad that I started to do the same thing using my hair.”

I don't miss any of Alice's exhibitions as - just like Chiharu Shiota - she has the rare gift to transform surroundings to the point where space becomes irrelevant and time a distant memory.

If you've never had a chance to see her work up close and you happen to be in London tomorrow, you can also catch a glimpse of her commission to All Visual Arts’ Bound at their new Kings Cross location. Kate MccGwire will also have a piece on show.

On show: Apr 15 - Jun 5, 2011

Address: Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX, UK, tel: +44 (0)20 7435 2002, email: info@freud.org.uk | Map & Directions

Gallery hours: Wed - Sun: 12 - 5 PM

Admission: £6

Press release

Artist's website

Kate MccGwire at Pertwee Anderson & Gold, London

by Suzanne on February 23rd, 2011


Warp by Kate MccGwire, 2010

I'm not sure about this trend of gallery websites not really being websites with information at all but just fancy HTML business cards, but I certainly do not like it.

So I'm very afraid that I can't tell you too much about Kate MccGwire's current Host installation at Pertwee Anderson & Gold other than that her work is absolutely breathtaking and that you should really go see it.

Make sure to email the gallery beforehand though to confirm opening hours.


Evacuate by Kate MccGwire, 2010 - click to enlarge

On show: Feb 21 - Mar 24, 2011

Address: Pertwee Anderson & Gold, 15 Bateman St, London, United Kingdom W1D 3AQ, UK, email: info@pertweeandersongold.com

Gallery hours: Inquire

Artist's website