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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Spotlight - Polly Morgan, taxidermist

‘Receiver’, 2009
This month's Spotlight beams onto the feathery and furry world of Polly Morgan, taxidermist. Morgan poses animals in shapes and dioramas to make haiku-like scenes, juxtapositions, and expressions of frailty, and humour. Many of the works are emotionally akin to a cartoon, or a comic strip drawing.
Some of the works are about the struggle of life, or the lightness of being, or mortality. Others are more of a narrative about interpersonal connections, or strength, such as this regal Kingfisher lain in state.
The animals are donated, or bought. None are killed for the art. They are deceased pets, often, or animals found on roads or beaches...etc., and donated by people who find them and know of her work, and figure that she could use a dead badger or gannet or whatever it is they find after its living adventure. 
'Foundations, Remains' or 'Picking Process to Pieces'
'Foundations, Remains' is a scaffold-like architectural structure made from bones; the structural form inside animals (including us), and the part which lasts longest. The facial and fleshy parts, and the mind, that we pay attention to are shown to be like the active lifespan of a building that leaves traces, and has foundations.  We are temporary, and we are the important part around a structure made for our existence.
Morgan is based in Hackney, possibly the UK’s most vibrant area for modern art innovation.
A good introduction to her thoughts and creativity and craft is the BBC documentary in the “What do artists do all day” series:

The Independent interview, linked below, includes how she started, and her successful networking. Put very simply, Morgan was running a bar where artists networked, and she wanted a piece of taxidermy for her flat. A friend suggested she make one herself, so she got lessons, made taxidermy pieces, then got commissions with restaurants in London.

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