What separates human from animal? What borders exist between the real and the imagined, the beautiful and the repugnant, the living and dying, the creator and the made?
Through the act of making, I swim in and around these margins, revealing how slippery the answers to these questions are. I create animals that blur species boundaries. They challenge the perceived order and comfortable classifications of life. These animals are tricksters; familiar but also alien, seductive but also scary, animal but also human, alive but also dead. In a world where petals mimic fur and hair impersonates bone, even materials upset their expected roles. These creatures are not to be trusted, for as soon as we identify with them, we admit that perhaps the definitions they upturn are not so clearly defined as we would like to think.
Material and process are the tangible means through which I contemplate the lines separating these opposing worlds. I use inanimate materials that rely on touch to take shape. I sculpt and articulate animal forms to generate a semblance of life. The fleshy coverings are meticulously and lovingly applied, allowing me to both control and understand the figure as it comes into existence. The work I exert over the animal becomes an empathetic gesture. As the creature comes to life, the line between myself as the maker and the material as the object softens.
I become a mad scientist, frantically assembling disparate body parts to create monsters. I become a mother, gently nurturing my offspring into being. I become the divine creator, generously bestowing life upon the inanimate. I become a sculptor, patiently articulating form from formless material.
The desire to create a believable sense of life pulls me forward as a maker. As the creature becomes more articulated, it develops personality, sentiency, soul. I look at it, and it looks back at me. The sense of parental love I feel for my creations is undeniable. I spend endless hours stroking hair onto their backs, arranging the fur on their heads, looking into their eyes to make sure they are just right. My process is a labor of love, as I give impossibly slow birth to each one, and they, in turn, grow up and develop lives of their own.
— Lindsay Pichaske