Tag Archives: deer

These Bucks Are BUCK: Rachel Denny

28 Jul

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.

Red Buck, polyurethane foam, wool and wood

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, merino wool, polyurethane foam, thread and wood

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.

The Lion and The Lamb, polyurethane foam, wood and wool

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.

Teal Doe, polyurethane foam, wood, wool, paint and thread

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.

A Delicate Peace: Susan Hall

6 Jul

Coco Chanel once said, “I consider lace to be one of the prettiest imitations ever made of the fantasy of nature; lace always evokes for me those incomparable designs which the branches and leaves of trees embroider across the sky..”

Shoreline, oil on panel, 48x43

I came upon Susan Hall’s paintings as we ascended the stairs up to Butters Gallery in Portland, our last gallery stop of a long day spent in that art mecca.  Through the glass doors, I spied beautiful tone-on-tone figures, peaceful in their exquisite solitude.

Vision, oil on panel, 60x48

As they drew me in, I realized that I was viewing these figures through a veil, not one over my own eyes but through the intricate patterns in which Chicago artist Susan Hall ensconces each of her subjects.

Companion, oil on panel, 35x40

Veils may have both negative and positive connotations– The view through the veil of a bride is lovely and full of hope, while the view through the veil of a burqa may be considered by some as the prospect of a prisoner, someone not allowed to view the world through naked eyes.

Reverie, oil on panel. 27x27

Hall’s work also has a bit of a voyeuristic quality, as if we were gazing through lace covered windows, intruding upon a private moment or catching a glimpse of a ghostly deer’s visit before he disappears into the dark night.

Arrival, oil on panel, 43x48

Clearing, oil on panel, 48x43

We see him but does he see us through our gossamer covering?  Or perhaps he is merely an apparition of our imagination?  Either way, I am enthralled.

Please visit Susan Hall’s website to see more of her breathtaking work.  If you are in the Northwest, a visit to Butters Gallery to see her work in person will be a delight for your eyes, pinky promise.

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