Beyond taxidermy: Kate Clark & Julia deVille
15 February, 2019
New York-based sculptor Kate Clark’s work synthesizes human faces with the bodies of animals, while Melbourne jeweller and taxidermist Julia deVille work is informed by a fascination with the acceptance of death expressed in Memento Mori jewellery of the 15th to 18th centuries and Victorian Mourning jewellery.
Both artists showcased their work in the RMIT Gallery exhibition My Monster: The Human-Animal Hybrid (29 June – 18 August 2019).
Clark says “The fusion of human and animal that I create presents a fiction suggesting that our human state is fully realized when we acknowledge both our current programming and our natural instincts. I emphasize the characteristics that separate us within the animal kingdom, and, importantly, the ones that unite us.”
She stitches the surreal creatures together like any taxidermist, but has a few quirks that make the art her own: she only works with imperfect, salvaged pelts that would likely be wasted, and patches up their holes—which often occur on their heads—with human faces made of clay.
Similarly, deVille employs taxidermy as a celebration of life and sees it as the preservation of something beautiful, only practising ethical taxidermy.