American ceramist Adelaide Paul received her BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1993 and an MFA from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1996. She received Leeway Foundation grants in 2002 and 2004. Paul has taught at universities in Texas and Montana and currently teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art in
Baltimore. Her finely modeled, semi-figurative sculptures are on display at the Garth Clark Gallery in New York until June 26, 2004.
Since the 1940’s, thousands of collies have been bred so that nine transvestite “Lassies” could perpetuate a celluloid myth about a boy and his dog. Collies, Chihuahuas, Dalmatians, Greyhounds and other breeds have, for various market driven reasons, experienced meteoric eruptions in popularity; invariably they have subsequently suffered the consequences. In its extremes, American Culture posits an alternately cloyingly sentimental and brutally callous relationship between humans and both domesticated and wild animals. Animals are anthropomorphized in film, fiction and popular culture. They (and their requisite accessories) are hot commodities; like all commodities, they are also inexorably disposable.
Recently I have been studying the anatomy of animals. One cannot contemplate the intricacies of consumption without an acknowledgment of the carnality of desire, be it a desire for material goods or a wide range of sensual slakings. On a pragmatic level, rendering an animal (of any species, including our own) accurately on the outside is vastly facilitated by understanding the organization of the parts on the inside. But the inside of the body is transgressive, private, frightening, even revolting to most of us. Meat cuts are trimmed and often dyed like an expensive haircut, hermetically sealed and given names such as “bacon” and “London broil;” the flesh becomes “beef” and “pork,” because “muscle of cow, “or “muscle of pig” would likely be off-putting. The epiglottis of the horse seems more vaginal than the vagina, (perhaps giving an unintended additional layer of meaning implicit in the 1970s pornography flick “Deep Throat”). The muscles of a fresh (unembalmed) horse’s leg are a surreal blue-purple; glistening under an iridescent, translucent fascial sheet. It is strangely beautiful.
Muscle is meat and, on a great many levels, so are we. All organisms are dependent upon other species in one way or another; consumption in every sense of the word is integral to life in western (and, increasingly, non- western) culture. I seek to pose questions to the viewer regarding these consumer/consumed/consummated relationships by juxtaposing found and fabricated objects evoking multiple possibilities as to just whom is consumed?