Unicorn horns, mermaid skeletons, stuffed and preserved animals and plants, insects in amber, lenses, and obscure scientific instruments – these were just some of the contents of what were called Cabinets of Curiosity. First assembled in 16th century Europe, these “rooms of wonder” became the earliest museums, where diverse collections of oddities from around the world could be seen in one place. Sumptuous accumulations of unknown and unfamiliar objects were assembled in beautifully constructed cabinets, contained in entire rooms displaying artifacts from floor to ceiling.
I think of my constructed creations as present day artifacts that might have been collected and assembled in a Cabinet of Curiosity. Where they came from and what meanings they hold are still unknown. Indicators and clues as to their origins can be found on each creature – but often the markings, materials and methods of construction can be confusing, asking more questions than giving answers. Studied closely, each creature seems to have similar construction patterns, tattoos and indications of tribal identification.
A rabbit poised to spring, wired together with an assortment of old sticks, rags, rusted metal and found objects, is then mounted on a weathered wooden armature. Another almost mythological beast – part rubber robed rhinoceros and part metal cloaked ant eater – is captured mid-stride, his worn underside streaming a strange accumulation of hanging objects. During his journeys this creature has attracted the various talismans to his belly like metal to magnets. Creatures of my imagination…peering felines, quizzical canines, pondering armadillos, miniature running antelope, crawling lizards and crooked wooden birds, beckon you to follow them into the shadows of my own realm of the curiously outlandish and bizarre.