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"She shifted; I melted."


250lbs of ice. (photo cred: Jen Leatherby)

Response to The Wild Beasts, June 22, 2017

Written by Tiffany Sinnott

The heat rises to the top floor of Barnum factory. Three stories above ground, The Wild Beasts move around the wide-open, gallery space. The energy of the show is alert, prone and open.

The gallery springs forth with Larassa Kabel’s Scatter. A fleece blanket is pinned open; an image of deer bolting in sudden fear is grey and fuzzy with movement. The fiber of the fleece is soft to touch. The stark white spots within the image reflect light; eyes caught in headlights. Is it a provocation of the flight or fight response?


‘Monolith’ performed by Kt Marie Scarcely. (photo cred: Jen Leatherby)

Jessica Teckemeyer’s mixed media sculptures show the mythology of predator vs prey. The delicacy of the material is sensual. Each piece exhibits a moment of masked revelation. In Chloris, glassy eyes stare out, over trapped orchids. Fawn or Foe II features a gawky fawn wrestling with an animal skin. Exposure becomes an event in Teckemeyer’s work. Actively or passively the subjects struggle with life and death, but the true strength of the pieces reflect a conscious; an effort to exist.

Lee Running’s Cure consists of fragmented bones, collected and curated. The jaw bones are hung on spits above salt blocks. The broken pieces have been gently cared for, preserved, and displayed with a duality: nature vs nurture.

Heidi Wiren Bartlett’s uses ice blocks to divulge two time-based works. Green on Green meditates on the slow shock of death. While Monolith forms a furious structure from a pool of immediacy. The amazing Kt Marie Scarcello performs a shifting ritual of strength, from one salty shore to another. The performer lifts the forty-pound ice blocks and shifts them across the floor. Scarcello inhabits the continental powers of ice. Even as the ice melts, she builds a structure of strength and power comparable to her own strength and power.


Kabel’s performance during The Wild Beasts. (photo cred: Jen Leatherby)

The last performance of the evening was by Larassa Kabel.  A red curtain opens on a group of suspended deer; stuffed and ready to split. A blindfolded Kabel whips a deer piñata. Performing a trust ritual, the mistress forces the figures to bust open, gushing tiny delicacies. The sexual connotation that Kabel emotes connects the aggression of violence with the orgasmic prize of a “little death”.

From the active rituals of performance to the slack jawed revelation of mortality. The show features a range of powers. At times broken; at times shattered, The Wild Beasts is a show about the brutal struggle of life and the semi-sweet reward of death.

Read more about The Wild Beasts here.

Rachel Buse