“Having considered a number of theories during the course of producing this body of work, the notion of the collage forms an umbrella theme across the work, where strange bed fellows come together to create a new and sometimes unexpected meaning or interaction.
Initially continuing from ‘Sentimental Rabbit Suicide’ (Arts Council of England 2008), the rabbits from the installation have been recycled to create the shadow installation in one of the cellar spaces. This work evokes for me, the idea of another world – perhaps an after life or dark forces at work. Rather than emerging from any personal belief in such, the work is reminiscent of certain horror films, such as ‘Donnie Darko’, where a peculiar emotion, which could be described as uncanny, is experienced. The concept of ‘uncanny’ is present in several of the ‘Head Series’.
The second cellar space has two related works. The first was initially a response to the ‘Sheffield 10’ city wide exhibition. Remaining with the theme of recycling art, taking objects and ideas which featured in some of the works, a different view of an apartment block is presented to that of Perac’s ‘Life a User’s Manuel’. ‘Chip Child’ is a work where parental anxieties are permitted to emerge and the concept of ‘abjection’ is introduced. The concept of abjection and its relation to uncanny is something I am continuing to investigate.
How we view animals – birds and mammals like us, is an automatic consideration when engaged in taxidermy. The tradition of using animals to stand in for people when we tell our stories to children intrigues me. This anthropomorphism has lead me to reflect on Carl Jung’s statement;
‘Sentimentality is a superstructure covering brutality.’
And has, in turn, informed the fox sculpture.
The individual taxidermy sculptures are where I hone my (rather poor) craft skills while turning the traditional approach on its head by allowing the animals to appear dead and re-positioning the classic glass dome or case, placing the glass inside the animal or creating strange interactions.
The ‘Reynard Diary’ video was a spontaneous experiment – a recording of an event and an edit which attempts to play with the mind’s tendency to construct narrative, by fragmenting stories to the edge of comprehension.
This was far more a focus when producing the work than an investigation of the subject matter which touches on broad themes within the body of work as a whole and continues to demand reflection.
The ’12 Heads’ series came from thinking about taxidermy and initially began as a consideration of people’s reaction to mammalian remains. This became an interest in the impact of a wider variety of materials and the connotations they carry, whilst allowing ideas about the uncanny and abjection to permeate.
So many relating ideas have informed this body of work, and the broad theme of collage described in the opening is a recognition of an approach taken where disparate elements are allowed to come together and their juxtaposition suggests something new or beyond the sum of its parts.”