"Kate Puxley brings us alarmingly close to the wildness we both crave and fear."
Heather Nicol, Curator, Running on Empty,
Robert McLauglin Gallery, Oshawa Ontario, 2015
My work concerns animals and humans, specifically the use of the former by the latter in the representation and exercise of power. I work chiefly in drawing and sculpture, but the artisanal techniques of taxidermy are central to my practice. With these media, I create a sort of mythological theatre where the beautiful and the grotesque comingle, and where human conventions of power and violence can be exposed and examined.
Hunted and mutilated in life, embalmed and posed for display in death, in our society the bodies of animals are enlisted, reanimated and made to play various roles in a grotesque, human-centred theatre that serves to sanction or whitewash human, especially male, power and violence. In such roles, animals may be reanimated as companions, objects of desire, victims of violence, jesters or comical figures, or trophies. As such, animal bodies easily stand in for human ones: the bodies of women, immigrants, people of colour, or others threatened or marginalized by power, especially white male power.
I, too, enlist animals’ bodies (found bodies, I do not kill animals for art) in narrative, mythological theatres: in dioramas and other museological installations, or as subject specimens in drawings. In contrast to their traditional roles, however, here the animals recover their dignity as beings, bearing witness to the brutality of human power and hubris, while also exhibiting, in their own right, the transient, sublime beauty and subtlety of embodied existence.