Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for the Taxidermy & Grotesk category

The Symbiotic and Alienated Works of Rachel Goodyear

by Suzanne on August 1st, 2011

Walking on Tiptoes (detail) by Rachel Goodyear, pencil and watercolour on paper, 30cm x 42cm, private collection, 2009 - click to enlarge

While researching image material for a blog post about one of the most spectacularly curated group shows in aeons - I will post about it later today - I re-discovered Rachel Goodyear's website and decided that she's really deserved her own post here because her images have been floating around on both the blog and forum for a while now.

Imaginary Friend (detail) by Rachel Goodyear, pencil and watercolour on paper, 30cm x 42cm, private collection, 2008 - click to enlarge

Born in 1978 in Oldham, Lancashire, Rachel studied fine arts in Leeds and now lives and works in Manchester. Although deliberately limiting herself to work in small scale with a strong focus on watercolour and pencil, she's an extremely accomplished artist who really can't seem to stop herself, judging by all the found material she draws on - from paper bags to envelopes.

Fawn with Hand by Rachel Goodyear, pencil, watercolour and gouache on paper, 22cm x 22cm, collection of Bury Art Gallery and Museum, 2008 - click to enlarge

Strong recurring themes in Rachel's work are symbiosis, entomology, mycology, decomposition, masking & obscuring, injury & trauma (in a Pascal Bernier sense), alienation & hermeticism, attachment & conjoinedness... so basically, the sheer existence.

The Man in the Suit Is Unwell by Rachel Goodyear, pencil on paper, private collection, 2007 - click to enlarge

Dave Beech once said about her oeuvre:

"Nothing is at home in these works, as if the world had been tapped lightly and everything had stumbled into unfamiliar positions.”

Chin Strap from the Nature Notes series by Rachel Goodyear, pencil and watercolour on paper, 14cm x 21cm, Olbricht Collection, 2009 - click to enlarge

And 'tis very true indeed and I couldn't have found better words - particularly not in this ungodly heat.

So please have a look at her website and discover her vast portfolio with your own eyes.

From the Nature Notes series by Rachel Goodyear, pencil and watercolour on paper, 14cm x 21cm, Olbricht Collection, 2009 - click to enlarge

Madeline von Foerster and Benjamin A. Vierling at Roq la Rue, Seattle

by Suzanne on July 7th, 2011

The Tale of the Golden Toad by Madeline Von Foerster, oil and egg tempera on panel, 24" x 36" - click to enlarge

Madeline and Benjamin informed me about their upcoming twin exhibition which opens tomorrow evening at the glorious Roq la Rue in Seattle.

It's great to see a show with two artists who go absolutely perfectly together and manage to enhance each other's oeuvres magically.

For many moons, Madeline has shown an uncanny anachronistic skill to amalgamate Renaissance style with Wunderkammer fauna and flora and add a certain doll-like feel to her protagonists who always seem to contain a grain of Olimpia despite the lively shimmer and sumptuous richness of the pearls and silk.

And even though homines universales like Ole Worm, Albertus Seba and Ernst Haeckel would undoubtedly be collectors of her work if they were contemporaries, nothing ever looks dated. In The Tale of the Golden Toad, the details in the lace are just as fresh and youthful as the organic details under the glass dome.

There is something slightly unnerving about The Tale of the Golden Toad though - it's the moment you realise that the protagonist has actually become part of the Wunderkammer and - starting from her hands and just like Daphne, just like Francesca Woodman - seems to be turning into a display herself.

Vierling's artistic approach is just as epic if a bit more mythologically inclined. With intricately painted ornamental wooden frames containing grotesque scenes and tiny insects, he manages to create a multi-dimensional trompe-l'Å“il that's quite breathtaking.

Details below.

Medusa by Benjamin A. Vierling, egg tempera & oil on panel, 22" x 22", 2011 - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Friday, July 8, 6 - 9 PM, both artists will be in attendance

On show: Jul 8 - Aug 6, 2011

Address: Roq La Rue, 2312 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121, USA, tel: (206) 374-8977 | Map

Opening hours: Wed - Sat: 1 - 6 PM

Press release

WurzelForum discussion

Polly Morgan at Workshop Arte Contemporanea, Venice, Italy

by Suzanne on June 5th, 2011

Systemic Inflammation by Polly Morgan, taxidermy canaries, steel, leather, 2010 - click to enlarge

In the past year or so, Polly Morgan has shown a great degree of innovation and adaptation in a genre that doesn't always bring out the best in people (and animals!), see Etsy and eBay.

Despite my criticism of her work in earlier years, I have to admit there are only a few taxidermy artists who have managed to successfully and aesthetically merge the sculptural (Black/Blue Fever, below) with the decorative (Systemic Inflammation, top, and Departures) with the humorous (Receiver), with the bittersweet (To Every Seed, bottom, and Vestige) with the... uhmm... well... stuffed.

Black Fever (left) and Blue Fever (right) by Polly Morgan, taxidermy crow/pigeon wings, wood, wire, 2010 - click to enlarge

Maybe releasing editioned Still Birth taxidermy sculptures was not the brightest thing to do and will definitely infuriate many, but all I can say is that I've been following her work over the years and went to many of her exhibitions and she really did learn how to enchant, amaze and startle (admittedly without reinventing the wheel) and I have hardly seen works of a more olfactory pleasing manner. Seriously.

Her Psychopomps show at Haunch of Venison made that clear even to the haters, I believe.

Besides, her etching of Blue Fever is just glorious and for an edition of 50 actually cheaper than lots of shit street art prints in this city. Just sayin'.

So maybe I'm getting mellow, but I'm putting the hate aside for once.

Just for once.

To Every Seed His Own Body (right) by Polly Morgan, 2006 - click to enlarge

AAAAANYWAAAAAYS, Polly is currently showing new works at Workshop in Venice, Italy - not really at the Biennale, but I guess the timing is pretty obvious. All details below.

On show: Jun 3 - Jul 22, 2011

Address: Workshop Arte Contemporanea, Dorsoduro, 2793/A, 30123 Venice, Italy, tel: +39 041 099 0156, email: info@workshopvenice.com | Map

Press release

Artist's website

Polly Morgan's monograph

Angela Singer, Suzanne Moxhay, Caitlin Hackett, Lindsey Carr et al. at Strychnin, Berlin

by Suzanne on May 4th, 2011

Vila of the Forest by Angela Singer, taxidermy deer, mixed media, crystals, ceramic flower leaves, 2011 - click to enlarge

One more for Berlin folks: Next Friday, a beautiful forest-themed show will be opening at Strychnin Gallery.

From the press release:

"In concordance with the United Nation's International Year of Forests, Strychnin Gallery presents 'The Enchanted Forest' an international charity group show curated by Yasha Young and Giovanni Cervi that is dedicated to the forests and their inhabitants all over the world.

The show should remind people of the drastic damage that is constantly done to our forests as well as their beauty, uniqueness and importance.

Many lovingly and elaborately crafted sculptures as well as paintings and photographs by over 30 international artists will display both the desolation of deforestation and the forest‘s magic and liveliness that we have to save.

10 percent of the price of every sold artwork will be donated to a project of the WWF!"

Feralis by Suzanne Moxhay, 2010 - click to enlarge

Exhibiting artists include: Mia Araujo, Caitlin Hackett (below), Tom Bagshaw, Lindsey Carr (bottom), Daniel van Nes, Lisa Black, Lost Fish, Angela Singer (top), Elmer Presslee, Suzanne Moxhay (above), and many more.

Insatiable by Caitlin Hackett, ballpoint pen, micron pen, ebony pencil, coloured pencil and water colour on paper - click to enlarge

What impresses me particularly about the line-up is the huge number of female artists including great young talents like Lindsey Carr (below) whose deep love and fascination for biology and painting are very visible in her extraordinary and forever growing symbiotic menagerie.

Ortus by Lindsey Carr, acrylic ink, watercolour & gold leaf on Arches, 2011 - click to enlarge

Opening reception: May 13, 2011, 8 PM

On show: Not sure. Check with gallery.

Address: Strychnin Gallery, Boxhagenerstr. 36, 10245 Berlin, Germany, tel.: +49 30 9700 2035

Gallery hours: Thu - Sun: 12 - 6 PM

Show preview

Bits and Pieces of Such Utter Randomness That You Might Want to Call a Nurse

by Suzanne on May 4th, 2011

Behold these news items of great importance and visual beauty that I found while clearing out my tabs...

Why make separate posts when you can squash everything together in one? EXACTLY!


Sculpture from Jessica Harrison's Breaking series, photo by Wurzeltod , 2011 - click to enlarge

I reported about her current London solo show here and I'm happy to say that Jealous Gallery allowed me to take pictures of her sculptures. You can find them over here on Flickr.


Heretics' Gate by Doug Foster/Unkle, photo by Wurzeltod , 2011 - click to enlarge

Last weekend, after my visit to Jealous, I took a stroll down Camden Road and ended up at the beautifully dilapidated St Michael's church where Doug Foster is currently showing his Heretics' Gate (music by UNKLE). Do check it out if you're near Camden.


Improvisation avec Lizzie by Féebrile, 2011 - click to enlarge (slightly)

.. and staying goff, I stumbled upon Féebrile's most gorgeous photo yet. It's entitled Improvisation avec Lizzie and it's one of the most painting-like photographs my eyes have ever seen. Such beauty.


Pharaoh Nophru ka by Alex CF, 2011 - click to enlarge (slightly)

Alex CF is on a creative roll. He's crafted his most astonishing mummy to date, Pharaoh Nophru ka, and is looking for people to collaborate on a new project:

"Over the next year I will be making my own interpretation of alice in wonderland. Call it trite, but I believe my take on this classic childrens books will be original enough to warrant its creation. I am making all of the practical effects myself, and I am slowly but surely roping in a number of friends to help me film, edit and produce the short. I am looking for anyone willing to help out, from location seeking to costume to acting.

Read on


Yes, he's back. The Elder Gods have heard our prayers.


Who's just released the one tarot deck that's literally going to kill all tarot decks? That's right, Le Dernier Cri and Olivier Texier have.

You can buy it here for ridiculously cheap €25.


Estelle Hanania shared this amazing video with the internets the other day and I thought you might like it too. Filmed by Simon Bernheim.


Shit title, great film. Go see it.

Four Days of Jodorowsky (WITH Jodorowsky!) at KW, Berlin

by Suzanne on May 3rd, 2011

(Restored) still from Alejandro Jodorowsky's La Montaña Sagrada, 1973

My German brethren and sistren, I am delighted to announce that the great Alejandro Jodorowsky will be visiting you next week bringing not only four of his movies but HIMSELF to your capital!

(Restored) still from Alejandro Jodorowsky's La Montaña Sagrada, 1973

Here are the details:

Day One: Wednesday, May 11
8 PM: Talk with Alejandro Jodorowksy
9 PM: El Topo (MEX 1970, color, 125 min.)

Day Two: Thursday, May 12
9 PM: The Holy Mountain (MEX/USA 1974, color, 114 min.)

Day Three: Friday, May 13
9 PM: Santa Sangre (MEX/IT 1989, color, 123 min.)

Day Four: Saturday, May 14
9 PM: Fando y Lis (MEX 1967, b/w, 96 min.)

(Restored) still from Alejandro Jodorowsky's La Montaña Sagrada, 1973

This glorious 4 day event will take place at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art at Auguststraße (map). Click here for the full listing. Admission is €5 - I guess that's for one day.

Don't miss this!

Oh, and btw, if you enjoy Jodorowsky's work, you might like to check out my recent post on “Les Yeux Du Chat” by Moebius/Jodorowsky.

And now some spoilers from La Montaña Sagrada for those unfamiliar with Jodorowsky's work:

Patricia Piccinini at Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

by Suzanne on April 18th, 2011

Newborn by Patricia Piccinini, 2010, silicone, steel, human hair, possum felt - click to enlarge

It's been a while since we last had Patricia Piccinini's work featured here.

At any rate, for Australian readers, there's now finally a great chance to see some of her newest pieces (3 previously unseen sculptures) at Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide.

Her new show, Once Upon A Time, opened on Saturday and will remain on show until the end of June.

Bottom Feeder (rear view) by Patricia Piccinini, 2009, silicone, fiberglass, fox fur, steel - click to enlarge

The exhibition programme seems to be somewhat aimed at a younger audience - with lots of competitions and school holiday events planned - but there is also plenty of movie presentations and talks for more evolved hominoids who believe in contraception. Details here.

There's a special meet and greet event planned for May 14 at 12 PM with the artist speaking about her oeuvre and answering questions.

Oh, and here's your chance to see "The Gathering" again, in case you missed it:

On show: Apr 16 - Jun 26, 2011

Address: Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace , Adelaide SA 5000, AUS, tel: 61 8 8207 7000, email: agsainformation@artgallery.sa.gov.au

Gallery hours: Mon - Sun: 10 AM - 5 PM, or by appointment

Admission: $15 AUS

Press release

Artist's website

2011 Congress of Curious Peoples, Coney Island

by Suzanne on March 30th, 2011

Congress of Curious Peoples poster by Lord Whimsy - click for details

The great Joanna of Morbid Anatomy announced the lineup for this year's Congress for Curious Peoples Symposium at The Coney Island Museum which will take place over the weekend of April 16 - 17 as the final highlight of the 10-day congress.

Joanna says:

This year's Congress for Curious Peoples symposium was inspired by the themes of the The Great Coney Island Spectacularium, the installation I have been working on as Artist in Resident of The Coney Island Museum and within which the Congress will take place. Topics explored in the symposium will include Immersive Amusements, Human Anatomy on Display, and Science and Technology for Public Amusement and will feature many of my favorite scholars, artists, collectors and bon vivants, including (and this is just a brief sampling) Mark Dion, Norman Klein, Mark Dery, Mike Sappol, Lord Whimsy, Evan Michelson, Mike Zohn, and Laurel Braitman.

And Joanna herself will of course be speaking too.

Click here to go to Morbid Anatomy for the full schedule as well as information about tickets and remember to book early if you're planning to attend.

In related curious news, here's Uno Moralez' newest piece:

© Uno Moralez - click to enlarge

Tous Cannibales at Maison Rouge, Paris

by Suzanne on March 29th, 2011

Girls Don't Cry by Makoto Aida, 2004 - click to enlarge

With the oeuvre featured in the Claude Lévi-Strauss inspired Tous Cannibales show at the Maison Rouge in Paris being incredibly stellar, it actually gave me a hard time selecting the image material for this little feature until I realised that generally speaking, the more Japanese sounding the artist, the better the artwork and as you can see, it's now a fact. Q.E.D. No, not really. But still.

What I find slightly bewildering if not downright outrageous is the fact that this show has been going on for way over a month already but has gotten almost no coverage. It's particularly bizarre considering that the grandiose Chiharu Shiota is currently exhibiting at the Maison Rouge as well.

© Toshio Saeki - click to enlarge

Artists represented in the Tous Cannibales show include:

Makoto Aida, Gilles Barbier, Michaël Borremans, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Will Cotton, Wim Delvoye, Marcel Dzama, James Ensor, Francisco de Goya, J. J. Grandville, Pieter Hugo, Melissa Ichiuji, Oda Jaune (a great new discovery for me!), Fernand Khnopff, Théo Mercier, Félicien Rops, Bettina Rheims, Toshio Saeki, Cindy Sherman, Joel-Peter Witkin, and lots lots lots more.

School Girl by Melissa Ichiuji - click to enlarge

Jeanette Zwingenberger has done an absolutely outstanding and very brave job at curating and I can only hope that this turns into a traveling exhibition for the entire world to see.

Chapeau Maison Rouge, chapeau Jeanette Zwingenberger, chapeau all the artists involved. Details below. Oh, and watch the video which I'm totally hotlinking from their page. Shhhhh!

On show: Feb 12 - May 15, 2011

Address: La Maison Rouge, 10 Boulevard de la Bastille, 75012 Paris, France, tel: +33(0) 1 40 01 08 81 | Map

Gallery hours: Wed - Sun: 11 AM - 7 PM, Thu: 11 AM - 9 PM

Admission: €7

Press release & preview

Bye Bye Kitty!!! at Japan Society, New York

by Suzanne on March 21st, 2011

ERECTRO(clara) by Motohiko Odani, 2004, photo by Kioku Keizo - click to enlarge

Bye Bye Kitty!!! - Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art - a fantastically curated show that has gained prominent relevance due to recent sad events in Japan is currently on show at New York's Japan Society.

It's an incredible tour de force featuring some in the Western art world often marginalised and underrepresented Japanese artists, my favourites being: Makoto Aida, Manabu Ikeda, Rinko Kawauchi, Motohiko Odani (above), Chiharu Shiota (previously featured here) and Miwa Yanagi (below).

From the Fairytale series by Miwa Yanagi, silver gelatin print, 2004 - click to enlarge

There's a lot to see and learn at this show so please don't miss it if you're in NYC. The Japan Society also offers you countless ways to donate to Japan's struggle with the earthquake and tsunami aftermath.

Details are below and please don't miss this interview with the amazing Makoto Aida (via Substrom):

On show: Mar 18 - Jun 12, 2011

Address: Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017, tel: 212.832.1155 | Map & Directions

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 11 AM - 6 PM, Fri : 11 AM - 9 PM, Sat & Sun: 11 AM - 5 PM

Exhibition website | Events