Friday, February 27, 2009

Felted Wool Sculptures - Stephanie Metz

Needle felting is mostly a craft making technique; a smaller scale of how industrial wool felt is produced. In industrial production thousands of felting needles mat wool into a flat, uniform and dense fabric. This same technique can be done by hand with one needle creating diferent forms or three-dimensional objects. The technique is labourious and usually one where you are sure to get your fingers pinned over and over by the felting needles which are long, barbed and extremely sharp as to allow the fibers to mix and bond.

Felted Wool sculptures made by needle felting is the latest work of Stephanie Metz, a northern bay californian artist. Her skill at this technique stems out of a talent that has been worked out and developed by practice. Different media have been approached in her training and experience; printmaking, painting (fossil studies, landscape, citylandscape), figure drawing and sculpture.

Teddy Bear Natural History, Overbred Animals and Animal Studies are the titles of these Felted Wool series of works. A certain death smell is presented yet the nature of the material makes it ambigious and contradictory; the senses and the mind get puzzled while confronted with these cozie aberrations of nature.

Danger, mutations and overbreed animals along with teddy bear skulls are portrayed in Metz´s anatomical studies. Wool itself a natural fiber grown from sheep holds some of the mystery of this uneasiness; as abnormal or deformed fauna are created out of animal hair and not a petrified material like marble, stone or bronce. Solid yet pourous and slightly furry these figurative and realistic representations appear as classic anatomical studies and traditional sculptures that while preserving some of the correct proportions and beauty notions challenge those same notions by presenting them in abnormal transformations of excess or lack.

Teddy Bear Natural History confronts the image of childhood and death. Death itself can be played with and understood of as a natural process present even in the imaginary life of a stuffed toy. This particular work shares some lines along with the current japanese boom of deathly but cute dolls and toys but also brings out a relationship with the stuffed animals kept for conservation in museums, getting them so close as to bring out a sense of uneasiness with the teddy bear toys used in everyday life by kids; deprived of their own cycles and treated as petrified animals for play presenting themselves as normality, security and immortality. Metz presents them as bones; the end of their life cycle as petrified stuffed creatures.

While appealing to the senses the pieces confront your tactile instict with the realization of the subjects as freak, awkard and contrary to life. Whether abnormal cycles of nature or genetic mutations produced synthethically one is confronted with natures order of things shifted and therefore our own order of things along with our role and participation within nature.

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