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|Notes on TAXIDERMY
If you’ve ever spoken to a stuffed and mounted deer head in your grandfather’s hunting cabin, you will get both the theatrical wit and dark humor in Craig Cutler’s portraits of taxidermy. Taxidermy is borne of pride — to shows off one’s kill, to preserve a beloved pet — and yet these tattered objects have an air of pathos about them. Because if they’re not in your grandfather’s hunting cabin, then they’re probably shelved in a Salvation Army store with a 50-cent price tag. They’re gathering dust — and where’s the ferocity in that? “There are better days far behind them,” says Cutler. “I wanted to bring them back to a more heroic place.” So he turned his accomplished still-life eye on these creatures in order to present them to the viewer “on a stage — or a shrine for that matter.” The resulting images restore more life to the animals than even the most skillful of skin preservation. And yes, that deer head with the Mona Lisa smile is looking at you.