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Surreal Animal Sculptures Fuse the Intricate Beauty of Earth with Untamed Beasts

For the past few years, we’ve marveled at the surreal sculptures of Ellen Jewett, a Canadian artist who simultaneously fuses beauty with beasts. Octopuses, tigers, wolves, and elephants look as though they’re overrun by the Earth, with elements of flora and fauna comprising much of their bodies.

Jewett encourages close examination of her intricate works—by doing this, we look beyond their surface meaning and into the heart of the creatures she has depicted, whose concepts vary. “The viewer may discover,” she writes in her artist statement, “a frieze on which themes as familiar as domestication and as abrasive as domination fall into sharp relief.” Using a free-hand additive technique, the works are layered from the inside out, piece by tiny piece—some that are pretty while others grotesque or fantastical.

Each sculpture represents the sum of its parts, which are left purposely vague to allow for our own interpretation. “Within this ethereal menagerie,” Jewett explains, “anthrozoology meets psychoanalysis as themes of natural beauty, curiosity, colonialism, domestication, death, growth, visibility and wildness are explored.” What do you see?

Ellen Jewett: Website | DeviantArt | Facebook | Instagram
via [Danse Macabre]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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