The first digital series Mourning presents the subjects in a stark and direct manner at rest at the very bottom of the page with much blank empty space above the subject, almost suggestive of a physical as well as spiritual void.
A observers, we are witness to the subjects prostate form as they lay recumbent on their back with their bound legs and redundant wings wings tucked beneath them.Their vulnerability is palpable as we bear witness to the peaceful stillness of their corporeal rest.
Less obvious is the fact that some of the specimens are already quite old and even so its quite likely that given the preservation their bodies have received, they will outlive most of us. More troubling perhaps is the contemplation of what environmental degradation will do to expedite the decline of their descendants in the wild and if we will come to see birds such as these only as museum specimens reminders of a lost species.
Whereas the specimens in the Mourning series received just the most basic of preservation techniques meant to keep the remains from further decay, the subjects in the series Ocular have been the recipients of the full taxidermy treatment to create creatures as lifelike as possible. The resulting, digitally created images with these as their subjects depict two mirror image orbs, reminiscent of lenses. But, perhaps due to the inquisitive eyes that stare back at us, they appear less inclined to be the recipients of our scrutinizing gaze. Bird Watching takes on a double meaning when we are left to consider who is actually watching whom.
Corpus is a series of large realistic oil paintings depicting only the lower extremities of the subject to place the emphasis on the feet which are bound together. This binding, meant to give support to fragile limbs conjures religious imagery conveying the suffering imposed on a mortal body. Any suffering experienced by these creatures is long in the past but the melancholy pathos of their remains lingers.
All images © 2021 Adriene Veninger