POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Kate Clark, Lit From Within, Gazelle hide, Antlers, Clay, and Mixed Media, Opening at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT
Some trends never die. Take the stag-head-with-human-face genre of art making: The art-object animal-hybrid of the late 90’s has been out of vogue for so long it’s difficult to imagine a situation in which these forms will take on a new life. And yet I continue to see these works at fairs and galleries.
Over the past two days, I’ve been trying to pin down the genre’s antecedents. Recent conversations suggest Marcel Dzama and Tony Oursler have influenced such artists, though it’s hard to believe these two professionals alone have had such an enduring effect on the stag-human-face movement. The Frida Kahlo revival in the 80’s may be the better pick in this regard, Little Deer now a universally known painting. (Thanks Martin!)
Ultimately, the answers to these questions probably don’t matter: the phenomenon is merely a mildly amusing blip in the contemporary art landscape. As such, with the help of a few facebook friends, I’ve put together a small survey of work in this enduring genre.
Kate Clark, For Keeps, Impala hide, Antlers, Clay, and Mixed Media, 34 x 26 x 17 inches
This pair’s for your bedroom!
Michaël Samyn, The Endless Forest, 2007, video game still
Admittedly Michael Samyn’s human-faced deers fall into the genre of work you like even though you know it’s bad. I like the attempt to bring the language of fine art to a video game, even if it fails in doing so.
Jeff Lemeire, Sweet Tooth
This may be a dubious inclusion, as it seems slightly outside the field of fine art.
Rona Pondick, Ram's Head (wall), 2000—01, Yellow-blue stainless steel, Edition of 6, 8 x 24 x 10 1/2 inches
Straight from the thick of hybrid art discourse. Your time capsule above.
Abby Goodman, Animal Hybred series, Butterfly and vintage toy.
At a certain point in art history, artists clearly said, “screw Bambi.” This is the result of their backlash.
Amy Ross, Snake Charmers 2, work on paper
A snake charmed into a mushroom head. Brilliant!