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Art & Design

Written by Mies van den Biggelaar

Kate McDowell
Image by: Kate McDowell

Imaginary anatomy brought to life in porcelain

On first sight Kate McDowell's porcelain clay art might look realistically sculpted and very painstaking, but when taking a closer look, things aren’t quite what they should be. Mice have a human ear on their back, a human heart has a bird’s nest in it, and a bird has a human skeleton.

Her work was recently featured in Banksy’s Dismaland (Bemusement park), next to works of 57 other global artists, among them work of artists like Damien Hirst and Banksy himself.

This Portland (Oregon, USA) based conceptual artist shows with her work how we as human beings clash with our environmental nature, but as well “explores our physical and psychological relationships to the animal kingdom”.

The best explanation about Kate MacDowell’s work comes from herself, from a statement explaining her artworks:

In my work this romantic ideal of union with the natural world conflicts with our contemporary impact on the environment. These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. In some pieces’ aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world. In others, animals take on anthropomorphic qualities when they are given safety equipment to attempt to protect them from man-made environmental threats. In each case the union between man and nature is shown to be one of friction and discomfort with the disturbing implication that we too are vulnerable to being victimized by our destructive practices.

Want to see more of Kate MacDowell’s work? Visit her website.

Kate McDowell
Image by: Kate McDowell

Tags: Anatomy & Art, Porcelain sculptures, Kate McDowell, Imaginary anatomy, Human, Animals

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