BY Beth Comery
For the second year running, Providence’s Museum of Natural History has invited a group of contemporary artists to create new works drawing from over 250,000 rarely-seen items held in its Victorian collections. Last year’s show offered a unique lens on the Victorian obsession with natural studies, concerning itself with the era’s drive to collect and categorize all of nature’s bounty and with notions of nature as inexhaustible.
For the 2011 exhibit, five New England artists will create works that present specimens from the Museum’s 19th century collections in a transformative light, seeking out secret narratives, latent myths and hidden agendas within a vast catalogue of pinned insects, taxidermy animals, boxed birds’ eggs and more. Curiouser‘s innovative works invite viewers to look forward as well as back, exploring the ‘history of natural history’ while drawing connections to our own complex relationships with nature today.
This year’s artists are Nick and Erin Potter, Judith G. Klausner, Victor Signore, Gina Siepel and the incredible Pippi Zornoza creator of that dazzling, stone, glass tile, and rhinestone mosaic installation at the recent ‘Building Expectation’ exhibit at the Bell Gallery. ‘Curioser’ — curated by Erik Carlson and Erica Carpenter — was made possible through the support from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
The piece shown here (Mantis endoskeleton) is not from this show, but a 2007 piece by Judith G. Klausner. She is clearly a perfect choice for this exhibit having already worked within the pinned insect ‘Alice’ idiom.
$2, Museum of Natural History and Planetarium open 7 days, 10am to 5pm, Roger Williams Park, 1000 Elmwood Avenue