naTrophy : the people inchoate group exhibition 2012

The following is an artist statement for our first self-organized/collaborated/fundraiser project.  Denly Smyth McMann wrote this statement up. Here's to the beginning of many more of these rad functions and creative brain farts!  Long live collaboration!

artist statement

Taxidermy has a long and varied history. The original “stuffed animals” were collected as trophies of the hunt. It seems that human beings have a penchant for displaying and cataloguing the prizes of the natural world, perhaps as emblems of what they perceive as their superior cleverness and dominance over animals. Today preserved animals are housed in a variety of collections and range from the mounted deer head found on the living room wall of the weekend hunter, to the bird resting in the inventory of the university teaching collection, to the lion perpetually pouncing in the natural history museum diorama.

Collaborating since 2006, the People Inchoate is a diverse and ever-evolving group of artists formed around a core of female Alberta College of Art and Design graduates. This incarnation finds Camille Betts, Lyndsay Hinds, Maggie Jenkins, Julia Jungwirth, Renee Lazor, Ishmael Oh’Krynski, Mara Pratt, and Denly Smyth McMann ruminating on the concept of taxidermy. Each artist approaches this theme from a distinct viewpoint and expresses her meditations in the medium of her choice.

naTrophy examines taxidermy with one main constraint placed on the artists. All materials used in constructing artwork are limited to those that already pre-exist in the artists’ homes and studios with no new supplies purchased (full disclosure: rumours regarding the purchase of adhesive may be substantiated.) An effort was made to use forgotten or neglected supplies. These ‘ghost’ items have been made visible again. In this way, objects and materials that have lost their ability to be commonly desired are re-examined by the artist; with rediscovered potential, trash is transformed into trophy. What emerges from this experiment is a collection of strangely wonderful creatures pulled from the artists’ adventures and dreams. These are not your average trophies: this is a catalogue of salvaged emblems of mysterious wonderment in nature.