Marjan Wouda: Familiar

1 May 2022 – 31 Oct 2022

Regular hours

10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00

Save Event: Marjan Wouda: Familiar

I've seen this

People who have saved this event:


Marjan Wouda presents a dynamic menagerie of sculpted animals in her solo exhibition FAMILIAR.


Marjan Wouda’s sculpture takes us into the seemingly familiar realm of animals. Going beyond mere appearance, she delivers telling renditions of their characteristics, pose and behaviours. Adding to that which mother nature has evolved, Wouda often introduces an element of literary anthropomorphism to shape each sculpture’s narrative. These stories are rooted in the literature of childhood or the folklore of place; and provide a conceptual landscape that extends the sculptures beyond mere likeness.

The bulk of her sculptures in this show have been modelled and cast in resin or bronze. What distinguishes her process is the frequent embedding of recognisable objects into the surface. This might include rope, cardboard or cogs and these multimedia inclusions are adeptly employed to reinforce or underline a particular piece of anatomy, posture, or behavioural trait. A good example is Daun Russell, whose body reveals lengths of rope cast into its surfaces to suggest fur and emphasise spinal elongation. Gauntly hungry, this fox is frozen in its slow and calculated descent from the log. On the prowl for prey, or just ever alert, one senses vitality. Its head turned from the direction of its body, scanning ahead. Alive.

Wouda’s crab Scrabble was originally produced in cardboard, and the undulations of the corrugations make a good equivalent for the roughly calcified shell and claws protecting real crabs. Its dark red pigmented surfaces and proximity to running water all heighten a narrative of the real. Perhaps the most magical imagining on show is her unicorn Zachte Kracht. Starkly bright white against the dark trunks of laurels, it has an almost ghostly presence in the gardens. Even though we might assume it to be unreal, the modelling, pose, and anatomy all combine to encourage us to believe it might just be…

A second beast lurks in another expanse of laurels. This time her hound Skriker patrols on the edge of a tunnel allowing passage through. It has a limescale-like patina on its grey surfaces, invoking the presence of thick matted fur. This slightly scraggy and malevolent wolf-dog is not a solitary beast distancing itself from humans, but one in search of them. Its back arched to the point of exaggeration; all the fears of the fairy tale made flesh.

Alongside the modelled and cast sculptures, Wouda also uses drawing and fabrication. The most dynamic example is Bowland Hare, where the larger cousin to the rabbit has become a 3.5m towering giant, raised up on its hind legs.  Its body is defined through a series of layered shapes, at times expressively bent to define the rump, shoulder and cheek. Its layered construction means that from lateral viewpoints it morphs into an abstracted evocation of something ‘hare like’, which is intriguingly what defines Leporidae, the scientific grouping of hares and rabbits. Bowland Hare feels alive and makes us aware of one of the most potent qualities of Wouda’s work: its truth to nature.


What to expect? Toggle


Have you been to this event? Share your insights and give it a review below.