Harriet Horton’s dramatic new works herald a new wave of taxidermy and head to Paris
The delicate craft of taxidermy has captivated a new wave of artists, its use of dark surrealist humour inspiring a modern and playful take on what was once a humble curiosity.
Harriet Horton studied philosophy and aesthetics in Manchester and this informs the artist’s delicate and contemporary pieces. The veneration and appreciation of the beauty and shape of the animals is given an almost altar-like stage with Horton’s dramatic use of neon lights.
For her upcoming show at mi* galerie in Paris, opening in October 2016, and entitled ‘Camouflage’, Horton has introduced hand coloured marble dust and cement to the medium. Experimenting with reconstituted marble, the artist is using this classic element in a new way, giving it colour and combining it with the industrial and Brutalist nature of cement.
In the new works being created for the show, the artist is exploring a new relationship with neon using organic structures, with irregular twists and bends, to create something on a larger scale and different from her previous work.
London collectors will be able to see a sneak preview of Camouflage in September at the artist’s studio on Thursday 29 September.
Resisting the tired traditional presentation of taxidermy, Harriet has created stages in which the modest animals she chooses are given light, colour and drama. She has introduced her love of electronic and classical music into the work, using a soundtrack at the last show created for the work by the musician and producer, Rob Shields.
Horton says “I've always said that when animals are deceased their natural colouring and camouflage becomes redundant. I have explored this idea further by either using animals that have no existing markings or stripping them of their original colouring and reconstructing it with light.”
Harriet’s work is undeniably feminine and seems part of a growing wave of female artists working with beautiful objects and a modern sensitivity.
The Surrealists expressed their dreams and visions with seemingly disparate objects put together to describe the space between life and death. From Marcel Duchamp through Joseph Cornell to Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, the placing of mundane objects in a surprising and unlikely context giving them a value and seriousness they did not possess is a tradition continued and expanded by this work. Only now it is lit up and given a soundtrack.
Horton lives and works in London and studied classical music as a child. She cites the music as a major influence and works with music on a permanent loop. She says “I work with light, music and sound, to me there is no distinction between the arts - if it moves me and has authenticity.”
She studied taxidermy under famed teacher George Jamieson, but is largely self-taught practitioner. All her subjects are ethically sourced, something she is careful about, adding ‘I would never countenance killing an animal purely for the work."
In 2015 Harriet exhibited at Flux and had a solo show in The Crypt Gallery, London NW1. She is represented in London by Contemporary Collective, in Paris at mi* galerie and in Chicago by Gallerique. Harriet will be holding a Private View of the new work at her studio, Darnley Road Studios29 September 2016.
Gallery: mi* galerie, 23 Rue Chapon, 75003 Paris, France
Private View: 26 October 2016
Dates: 27 October – 16 January 2016
Times: Tuesday - Saturday 11am-7pm
London Studio Private View:
Darnley Road Studios, 1A Darnley Rd, London E9 6QH
Date: 29 September 2016
Time: 6.30 - 9.30pm
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