Is the adjective buck actually used in the common vernacular? Or do only So You Think You Can Dance geeks like myself know what it means, thanks to Lil’ C? He uses it as slang for something that is crazy good and cool. Which is exactly how I would describe the sculptures of Portland artist, Rachel Denny.
On my morning walk with George today, we came upon a deer munching on flowers in a neighbor’s yard ( one of the things we love about the Northwest ). So when I came across Rachel’s work this morning, I connected with it instantly. Her work explores that surprise of the unexpected wildness of nature in urban settings and every day life.
Young Buck and Red Buck, both above, are part of her Domestic Trophies series, which while appearing at first to be whimsical and playful, actually seem to be making a commentary on how we try to justify our own violence or antipathy against nature. The head of an animal that was once a living, breathing creature, killed for sport and mounted as a trophy gets “domesticated” and rendered impotent by blanketing it in a warm and colorful wrap of fuzzy wool. It is now rendered to be merely a decorative object instead of a wild beast.
Or perhaps the artist is comforting these poor creatures. Covering their eyes and shielding them from a future of staring down at the same scene day after day. Or maybe she’s just having a little fun by creating something beautiful out of something so symbolically grotesque.
Whatever Rachel Denny is doing, I am on the bandwagon. These pieces are fanciful and fun and if there is a deeper message behind them, so much the better.
Go to Rachel Denny’s website for more of her sculptural work– the ceramics are great, make sure you check them out!
All images via http://www.racheldenny.com.