Rab­bit moon

Artist Sarah Bradley

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - Michael Abatemarco

The big white jackrab­bit in­side Meow Wolf’s House of Eter­nal Re­turn may not be an over­sized man-eater like the ones in Night of the Le­pus, the 1972 cult- clas­sic hor­ror film about mu­tant rab­bits. Nev­er­the­less, this rab­bit, carved into the en­trance of one of the many caves in the ex­hibit, is an im­pos­ing pres­ence. It is the cre­ation of artist and long­time Meow Wolf col­lab­o­ra­tor Sarah Bradley, who also made sev­eral smaller an­i­mal and an­i­mal­is­tic hy­brid forms for the show. Masks, sculp­tures, imag­i­na­tive fig­urines, and in­stal­la­tion work form the bulk of Bradley’s artis­tic prac­tice. She lived to­gether with mem­bers of the art col­lec­tive be­fore be­com­ing in­volved in the Meow Wolf-pro­duced play The Moon Is to Live On in 2010. “I did a bunch of cos­tumes for that,” Bradley told Pasatiempo. “Then I worked on Habi­tats and The Due Re­turn, which was the ship.” Habi­tats, also pro­duced in 2010, was a mul­ti­level in­ter­ac­tive in­stal­la­tion. For The Due Re­turn, a full-scale sail­ing ves­sel built on site at the Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts in 2011, Bradley carved an elab­o­rate winged fig­ure­head. House of Eter­nal Re­turn takes some ideas from pre­vi­ous Meow Wolf projects and elab­o­rates on them. The in­stal­la­tion bears some sim­i­lar­i­ties to the steam­punk, fan­tasy aes­thetic that in­forms much of the col­lec­tive’s ear­lier work. “Af­ter The Due Re­turn, I took a break for a cou­ple of years and got pulled back in for this,” she said.

Be­yond the in­tim­i­dat­ing jackrab­bit, through the mouth of the cave above which his mon­u­men­tal head rests, lies a small, self-con­tained room lit up in neon. “It’s a stripped- down space. It’s not a su­per-in­volved in­te­rior. The rab­bit didn’t come from any part of the nar­ra­tive in my mind; it just came from my head.” Bradley’s in­ten­tion was to fill the room and in­ter­act with it. The rab­bit’s ears, for in­stance, wrap around the ex­ist­ing duct­work in the ceil­ing. “I re­ally like work­ing with an­i­mal forms,” she said.

Bradley, a sculp­tor, cos­tumer, and writer, lives in Santa Fe. In ad­di­tion to Meow Wolf projects, she has de­signed cos­tumes for chil­dren’s the­ater and for stu­dent films. She com­bines cos­tum­ing and sculp­ture in her stu­dio work on small hu­man/an­i­mal hy­brid fig­ures, and some of the fan­tasy crea­tures you’ll en­counter in House of Eter­nal Re­turn are her cre­ation. They were made us­ing a durable light­weight build­ing com­pound called Skratch. Bradley was new to Skratch, the fa­vored ma­te­rial for large-scale sculpting at the art com­plex, when she be­gan work­ing with it last spring. “I think it was in April or May of 2015. I’ve been work­ing with it through­out this en­tire pro­ject, and I’ve made about 60 minia­ture sculp­tures with it. I made all the fish in the aquar­ium. I made a num­ber of crea­tures that are touch in­ter­ac­tives; you lay your hand on them and they make sounds. Skratch has been pri­mar­ily what I’ve been us­ing. This sculp­ture in par­tic­u­lar has a pretty heavy-duty ar­ma­ture that’s made from a bunch of dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing wood, foam, steel, and lath.”

Un­like many of the ar­chi­tec­tural and sculp­tural com­po­nents that make up the large- scale in­stal­la­tion, Bradley’s rab­bit is not painted. At least the nat­u­ral off-white color of the rab­bit’s Skratch-formed head has been left un­touched. “I’m not a big color per­son,” Bradley said. “There’s a lot of peo­ple in this col­lec­tive that do phe­nom­e­nal work with color, but it’s not my strong point. There’s a lot of over­loaded, over­sat­u­rated color in this show, so I de­cided to go for a starker look.”

The rab­bit’s eyes, how­ever, light up and were cre­ated us­ing a dif­fer­ent form of sculpting medium. “They’re made out of In­staMorph, which is a mold­able plas­tic. I re­ally love it, es­pe­cially for eyes. When you turn the work lights off, the eyes have a beau­ti­ful glow to them, and they end up kind of look­ing like the moon. I wanted to do some­thing that was big, that was in­tim­i­dat­ing, yet not, at the same time. It’s an amal­gam of ideas that came to­gether. It’s not par­tic­u­larly con­cep­tual. It’s more about try­ing to cap­ture a cer­tain feel.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.