University of Texas, 2002, BA English
Trish Igo and Jill O’Brien
All animals (fur, bone, specimens, etc.) were acquired post-mortem. The artists were not directly or indirectly involved in any of the animals’ deaths. All taxidermy was performed solely by the artists unless otherwise indicated in description.
Objects have long served as a profound emotional comfort to us, often creating a range of surrogate relationships. We continually acquire nostalgic items, compensating for what we have lost or never had. By surrounding ourselves with these objects in our homes and daily lives, we are developing an intimacy and a level of comfort that borders a fantasy life. These possessions represent past memories, our personal histories, and reflect the events in life that shaped our aesthetic. Domestic objects also indicate an idealism; the things we want and want to be. In our private environments, seemingly mundane trinkets and miscellany become trophies and talismans, validating our self image by reflecting our ideal pasts and futures.
In similar fashion, we have nurtured a ‘collection’ of pets as they have wandered into our lives, needing care and comfort. As we became more invested in them, every stray began to simulate the same potential emotional burden. An overwhelming anxiety pervaded each incident of finding an abandoned animal. This ever-present responsibility created a compulsion to care for the remains of the dead creatures we came across as well. By keeping an animal preserved, we are conjointly caring for a neglected one, elevating a moment, and adding to our domestic imaginarium.
Animal philosophies are rife with contradictions brought about by our childhood idolatry of animals and our societal use and slaughter of animals. Commixing these extremes, we create a dreamlike exposé of our haunted relationships to animals. We compose vignettes for these animals using objects we covet in order to construct situations that provoke reflection on the subjective and selective ways that people view animals. By intertwining our escalading domestic fetishes and increasing animal burdens, we collect nests for these animals to dwell, treasuring the animal in a way that assuages us and inspires empathy from the viewer.