My sculpture speaks to the complicated and often contradictory relationships humans maintain with other animals. We have taken great measures to keep the wild, unpredictable and problematic aspects of nature at bay, and yet we also cannot resist the need to be connected to that which we came from. In today’s increasingly nature deprived society our most intimate connection with the natural world tends to be with plants and animals that we ourselves have drastically altered through the process of domestication. Wild animals have been turned into pets, genetically sculpted into sweeter, cuter, less dangerous versions of themselves, permanently altered by man’s effort to fulfill their need for relentless love, amusement and companionship. Our homes have become barriers that keep the wild out, yet they are filled with caged animals, potted plants and countless other controlled and contrived representations of the natural world. My work aims to illustrate the evidence of both our dominance over and our affection for nature, as well as the cohabitation of our unease and desires regarding it.
Most recently, the influence of motherhood has made its mark with the animal figure becoming much more personally symbolic to me since I have had children. The hungry baby bird, and the furless and helpless newborn mouse perfectly embody this season of my life, where nurturing and protection are paramount. Explorations of the beauty, vulnerability and fragility of the natural world, and our species influence on its degradation go hand in hand with a desire to shelter my children and to ensure their blissful ignorance as they are threatened by countless dangers. Concerns about the morality of our politics, the health of our environment, and our own species’ ultimate survival are amplified when they are seen as a reflection in the eyes of our children.
— Bethany Krull
Bethany Krull, (b. 1981) is a Buffalo, New York based sculptor whose porcelain and mixed media animal sculptures aim to illustrate the complex and often complicated relationship humans maintain with the rest of the natural world. Her work has been included in many regional, national and international exhibitions including, Eureka! at the Blue Leaf Gallery in Dublin, Ireland, The Ceramics Biennial at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, and, Hot Rookies, at the Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennial in Seoul, South Korea. Her most recent museum solo show, Where are the Wild Things? was held at the Castellani Art Museum, at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. She received her MFA from the School for American Crafts at RIT and went on to residencies at Genesee Pottery, The Armory Art Center, Goggleworks Center for the Arts and the Archie Bray Foundation. She currently lives with her husband and two children and maintains an active studio at her home in the city of Buffalo, NY.