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Carnivora Exhibition - Oedipus Rex Gallery


Angela Singer

Oedipus Rex Gallery


16 September to 4 October 2003

For Carnivora, Angela Singer has created sculptures (including taxidermy sculptures), paintings and tapestry works exploring the practice of representing animal lives and bodies in a range of cultural forms, in particular as decorative adornment to the domestic setting.

But the works in Carnivora are not familiar animal kitsch. They display the anxiety that the animal is lost to the contemporary world.

Tapestry cushion covers and wall hangings have had their meaning turned. The pleasant hunting scene is made unlovely. The comfortingly familiar loyal dog is made a sinister threat when it becomes its own master.

The ancient Order of Carnivora is disturbed. Singer's sculptures of wild animals, hunted and killed, show the animal's death mourned as if it were human. Her paintings depict prey attacking predator and pets attacking animals that humans usually serve them canned.

Singer says, "Humans are defined against animals so any challenge to our understanding of them makes us uneasy. In Carnivora I seek to alter the way humans are understood and hierarchised in relation to other animals. I want people to consider the morality of our willingness to use animals for our own purposes"

Singer says, "Carnivora has elements of the carnival, it is a celebration, instead of exploitation, of difference between the human and other animals."

Interestingly, Singer, a vegetarian and animal rights supporter, says carnivores can be found in all parts of the world, except New Zealand and Australia, where carnivores are not native land dwellers. Perhaps, she wonders, this is why New Zealanders embraced with such zeal the role of carnivore -- meat industry breeder and butcher to the world.

Angela Singer is a recent Elam MFA graduate and a three time finalist in the Wallace Art Awards. She is a finalist in this years (aswell as last years) Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Award, and her works, (two sculptures of flayed deer) can be seen in the award exhibition at the Waikato Museum until 26 October 2003. Singer recently curated, and exhibited in, an international art exhibition at Blue Oyster Gallery, Dunedin, titled "Animality". Singer has been making art about the animal since the mid 90s. Her previous art works include an installation of 240 preserved suspended sheep, a ghostly flock titled, "Ghost Sheep" (2001).

Singer's work, and a discussion of it, are included in the forthcoming book, Killing Animals (Illinois University Press), which examines animal death in contemporary art.


Contacts: Jennifer Buckley email: website:

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