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Susan Bozic: Incarnation

Western Gallery
Bellingham WA Jan 15-Mar, 2005

Susan Bozic - Incarnation 2/6 Stellar Jays
Susan Bozic, Incarnation 2/6 Stellar Jays (2002), photograph [Western Gallery, Bellingham, WA, Jan 15-Mar 12]

Vancouver-based photographer Susan Bozic exhibits her well-travelled series Incarnation at Western Washington University in Bellingham, this winter. Having gained attention in numerous exhibitions in Canada, Bozic’s portfolio of seventeen black and white images are compelling satires on humanity’s incessant domination and idealization of nature.

Susan Bozic - Incarnation 6/6 Northern Harrier (Hawk)
Susan Bozic, Incarnation 6/6 Northern Harrier (Hawk) (2002), photograph [Western Gallery, Bellingham, WA, Jan 15-Mar 12]

Bozic meticulously creates theatrical scenes in her studio that incorporate taxidermy birds. Removed from their environments like performance animals, the birds are adorned with lavish drapery and bourgeois antique props. Bozic is inspired by the tradition of 16th century Dutch still-life painting, where a setting is contrived and no detail goes overlooked. She spends twenty-five to thirty hours on each photograph, though their construction can appear effortless to the viewer.

The fabricated images are as humorous as they are confrontational. Resembling exotic animal portraits from the 1920s, Bozic’s stuffed birds are simultaneously the subject of her photos and objectified like still-life elements. This dichotomy raises questions about our tendency to tame the freedom inherent in wild beings and the natural world. The references to life’s fragility and suggestions of mortality symbolize humanity’s disintegrating relationship and lack of respect for the integrity of wild creatures and the importance of their habitats. This exhibit is one of three concurrent exhibits included in Birds of All Feathers at the Western Gallery.

Allyn Cantor

 Tue, Nov 2, 2004