Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Elizabeth McGrath: Everything That Creeps

I'm not sure where I first came across the work of artist Elizabeth McGrath, but I know I wasn't living in the current Cabinet headquarters, so it had to have been more than five years ago. I also own a book of her art, Everything That Creeps, and I have no idea where it came from. Well, things accumulate.

McGrath is a part of the punk-pop-goth-fairy tale aesthetic that is just busting out of Los Angeles from seemingly all directions. She constructs meticulously put together sculptures which often include small dioramas embedded somewhere inside them, using found objects, doll furniture and taxidermy. Her more recent work has a cleaner, more nursery rhyme feel, while her earlier work is much, much, much darker.

I always admire people who know how to make things, as my hands are clumsy and I'm no good at it at all.

See the pig below:

And then look and see what's embedded in its belly!

Her work is strange and beautiful and one gets the pervasive feeling one has entered an other-worldly dime museum. As if unseen wonders and horrors are being presented to us.

McGrath has some larger scale work too, of which I am less fond. I have a feeling, that like myself, she is a miniturist at heart. She's someone with which I would love to collaborate, actually, as I feel the people (or beings) in her work are just crying out for stories.

For now, she's on my list of artists whose work I'd like to own if I can ever afford art. I have to say, I'm a little transfixed by her earlier, slightly more diabolical work, which somehow really inspires me. Taxidermy (of all things) is having a moment, isn't it? I've talked about this here before about my fear of maggots and arsenic, but the fascination still lingers. And there this, a class on mummification coming up. I'm sorely tempted.

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