Evanescere – Natalie Ryan

Words by Nick Tapscott

Photos by Andy Donohoe

Evanescee by Natalie Ryan at Dianne Tanzer Gallery, 108 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy until July 21st

So someone blue all over the corpses of their animals. I probably would’ve just blue all over the monkey, or maybe even the bear if I was drunk enough. Anyway, Evanescere is the new show from Natalie Ryan which opened at Dianne Tanzer gallery on Gertrude Street and features castings (not actual corpses) of the furless and mostly featureless taxidermied carcasses of wild animals encased in what appears to be crushed midnight-blue velvet. The bodies are mounted into action poses and have had their eyes replaced by something else slightly more adherent to the paradigmatic conventions of a museum and ‘display’ culture. The beasts are all posing on or around similarly conventional interpretations and representations of ‘nature’; twisting and shapeless branches in opposition to the ordered materials of the museum or gallery space.

The intent of the artist is to ‘look at the body in a suspended state of disappearing.’ and the works all carry the title ‘Blue Velvet (Bear)’ or which ever is relevant to the species. I interpret this (with the help of the artist’s statement) as a representation of the homogenisation and the re-appropriation of individuality into that of a humanised object; a statement of our need as an animal to own, categorise and sterilise our our environment. Discursive flows of humanisation, either applied to ourselves or to our concepts, spill out onto the nature surrounding us, a polluting hegemonic commodification that affects all the spaces we (and others) occupy. As succinct a statement of the human need to blue all over stuff in our world as you’ll probably find.

It’s worth noting that these particular animals seem to make me want to blue all over everything while the red crushed velvet animals at the Carlton Club only make me want to puke. An interesting deviation in the elicitation of response that begs further questioning of environmental factors and states/practices of consumption. While in the gallery I managed to catch a quick view of the other works Dianne Tanzer Gallery had on display. An appealing visual cross section of some of the mediums heavier hitters, such as double archibald finalist (and recipient of more awards than a corrupt third-world dictator) Yvette Coppersmith. Two pieces of standout proportions where the portraits ‘Sophie with Lulu’ and ‘Paul with Carlos’ which dreamily captured the subjects and their pets in a comforting and homely setting, leading the viewer to draw a similarity between the subject and the subjects objectified pet. A nice way to spend a Fitzroy Saturday, preceded by lunchfast and followed by napping. Gertrude Street is good like that. It’s nice to walk away from an opening without having to rush to bed to get back to work the day after and you can think about the art while the sun’s still up.