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Feral Creatures

Seattle artist Michael Alm has been hard at work creating life-size sculptures of wild animals that he has been meticulously researching in the back rooms of natural history museums and through antique books filled with detailed anatomical engravings of magnificent wild beasts.  His research has led him to create a bounding jack rabbit that appears to be leaping free of its fur in mid-stride, a sheep’s leg striped clean to the bone, and the skulls of a fallow deer and a goat.

This past year Alm has transitioned from paper to wood and along the way showed 2 large art works that set the stage for his newest work.  Both of these previous works were large sculptures mostly made of paper and both made quite an impression. Alm’s expedition themed exhibition at Vermillion featured a ferocious polar bear amongst a whale carcass and over at the theater lobby of WETCaracal had trapped a pheasant in a scaled up 3 dimensional  interpretation of an antique engraving.

For this new work Alm has delved into even more detail with artistic representations of muscle structure and bone and he has created some gorgeous sculptures from the natural hues of wood cut into thin strips or shaved into pieces the size of confetti.  For the fallow deer skull Alm even laminated his own plywood into the curving horns that sprout from the deer’s skull.

The work is beautiful to behold, and can best be experienced when one can circle around the work, taking in the jackrabbit’s  feline-like paw, or the articulating jaw and the small bones that fill the nose cavity of the goat.  This is both sculpture for the animal lover and the art lover.  These 4 works will be  featured in a group show opening this weekend called Feral Creatures at Modern Eden Gallery.

Also a fun fact, Alm’s house is stuffed to the rafters with artistic representations of taxidermy, yet there isn’t a single piece of actual taxidermy in the space.  Alm tells me that he plans to keep it that way.  He told me this in front of a lion’s hide rug made from plush.

Jackrabbit Lepus californicus Walnut, basswood, cedar shavings, glass eyes 19.5in x 23in x 6.5in Photo: Erik Hecht
Jackrabbit Lepus californicus
Walnut, basswood, cedar shavings, glass eyes
19.5in x 23in x 6.5in
Photo: Erik Hecht
detail of Jackrabbit Lepus californicus Photo: Erik Hecht
detail of Jackrabbit Lepus californicus
Photo: Erik Hecht
Domestic Sheep's Leg (Ovis aries) Walnut, basswood, cedar shavings 26.5in x 5in x 7in Photo: Erik Hecht
Domestic Sheep’s Leg (Ovis aries)
Walnut, basswood, cedar shavings
26.5in x 5in x 7in
Photo: Erik Hecht
detail of Domestic Sheep's Leg (Ovis aries) Photo: Erik Hecht
detail of Domestic Sheep’s Leg (Ovis aries)
Photo: Erik Hecht
Fallow Deer (Dama dama) Poplar, hand laminated plywood 18in x 26in x 12in Photo: Erik Hecht
Fallow Deer (Dama dama)
Poplar, hand laminated plywood
18in x 26in x 12in
Photo: Erik Hecht
Common Goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) Walnut, basswood, poplar 10.5in x 13in x 13in (includes base) Photo: Erik Hecht
Common Goat (Capra aegagrus hircus)
Walnut, basswood, poplar
10.5in x 13in x 13in (includes base)
Photo: Erik Hecht

Feral Creatures opens this Saturday, January 18th.  The show features 9 other artists and is curated by the creator of Platinum CheeseStephanie Chefas, who is also a contributor to such fine art publications as Hi-Fructose Magazine and The New Contemporary Art Magazine.

 

 

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