Cultural associations with animal trophies generally reinforce the idea that the animal is valued more in its death than in its life. With my decorative animal skulls, (especially the horse series), I evoke more sentimental associations of loss. In this work a painted imagined narrative depicts images of the horse, children growing and aging, and vistas of the land and vegetation on a fictional farm. Ornate antlers adorned with flowers, mushrooms, mice, walnuts, and acorns also call attention to strong associations with the land, and the passing seasons.
I draw on similar themes in a new piece, “Winter”. Though horses are typically portrayed as regal and powerful, in this full-size horse skeleton, the porcelain-like form appears fragile and exposed. “Winter’s” cherished memories garnish his stark white frame. A barn surrounded by tiny trees in his eye, is perhaps a view from his favorite spot in the barnyard. Blossoming flowers and nesting birds reference a particular time and place. And newly hatched birds, safeguarded in his ribcage, allude to the transient nature of life as they echo the sound and shape of a beating heart. This intimate view of “Winter’s” bones and structure, through a veil of memories, and lost moments, underscores an implied personality not usually attributed to a horse, and a wistful personal history rarely associated with animal remains.
In a new series I move from the barnyard to the roadside, where I am inspired by the evocative nature of stray, discarded furniture, overtaken by growth and decomposing back into the earth. Similar to past bodies of work, I am constructing fictional narratives that reveal glimpses into the past lives of these objects and those who live with them. Central to the series is a nightstand, reminiscent of one I had as a child in the 70s. A sculpted tree bores through and envelops the structure, calling attention to the temporal nature of once-cherished objects. The fragile imagery of rotting vegetables, goldfish, baby birds, vines, and flowers, done in white, porcelain-like clay, conjures up the mysteries of unfinished lives, and the losses that sometimes come with age.