I was recently watching the series “New Art Land”, which is a TVNZ 7 series in which thirteen artists are asked to create a an epic piece of work in front of the cameras. They had 2 seasons and featured artists such as Dick Frizzell, Reuben Paterson, Grahame Sydney, Wayne Youle, Judy Millar, Jacquelyn Greenbank and Lisa Reihana. I was particularly interested in Jacquelyn’s work, and wanted to do a little more research in to her artistic career. I didn’t find as much as I wanted to, however along the way I also found another artist practicing in a similar way, Elaine Bradford.
Jacquelyn Greenbank conjures fantastical worlds out of wool by painstakingly knitting, crocheting and stitching both around found objects and forms of her own creation. Her attention to detail is astounding. She is also a taxidermist, and has sometimes mixes the taxidermy with crocheting. Her works have a wonder and a delicious humour about them. She is better known for her crocheted life-sized bicycles, a barbecue with lamb chops (pictured below), an entire tea party including musical Pavlova.
Elaine Bradford combines her love of crochet and taxidermy to tenderly spooky dioramic effect. In her recent sculptural work she explores connotations associated with the handmade. I had a great time looking through Elaine’s portfolio, I love the quirkiness and the humour in her work. Because I am also a huge fan of taxidermy, her pieces take a special place in my heart.
Here is an excerpt from her artist statement:
In recent work with taxidermied animal heads I explore how each could live in a domestic setting. I am trying to slip these odd moments into familiar surroundings. Employing techniques of handicraft, specifically crochet, I infuse these everyday objects with both the comfortable and the surreal. The sweaters conceal and reveal the forms simultaneously. The soft, touchable stripes of color accentuate contours and bring a formalist beauty to these figures.
Utilizing familiar items and referencing the domestic, I introduce the viewer to an uncanny reality that is strange, yet plausible. This absurd domesticity resurrects these inanimate objects and brings them to a new life. These logs, deer heads and trees are no longer objects of only passing thought, but require deeper contemplation. My sculptures are both sad and amusing, straddling the line between reality and comfortable, warm nonsense.
This is one of my favourite pieces of hers, it’s called “Mongolian Knotted Deer”, 2007.
Here are a couple of others that really resonated with me:
Below: Dominant Male of the Blue Striped Variety
Below: Field Undressing, 2006