I am interested in the ways we objectify nature, both positively and negatively. The dancing, happy pigs used as icons for BBQ joints and meatpacking plants have always struck me as deeply ironic. Plastic animals take us for rides in theme parks and animated versions sell us products. Nature comes to us, viewed through glass windows at the zoo, natural history museum or framed on television. Likewise, the photograph objectifies the world as seen through the lens of the camera.
We visit natural history museums for a glimpse of our natural world, a world we often do not experience first hand. We view animals from far off places and times at a safe distance. Dioramas (and photographs) create a framed moment of nature frozen in time. The more closely they resemble an actual space and event, the more closely the taxidermied animals appear to breath life, the deeper our sense of wonder and connection.
It is this dichotomy between the real and the unreal, the version of life portrayed and the actuality of death, the inherent beauty of the animals within their fabricated environment and the understanding of its invention, that finds me both attracted and repelled.
Tiger and Flowers, Natural History Museum, London, England
Dialogue, American Museum, New York, New York
Seagulls, The Slovak Museum of Natural History, Bratislova, Slovakia
Birds, Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
Wrapped, Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Animals Reflecting, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California
Bear, Amican Museum of Natural History, New York, New York
Buffalo, Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois
Blue Crowned Pigeon
Great Horned Owl
Suspended, Denver Museum of Science and Nature
Vulture, Denver Museum of Science & Nature
Gray Wolf, Denver Museum of Science and Nature
Exploration, Museum of Natural History, Iowa City, Iowa