I have always been interested in finding recurring patterns in nature that point toward a unifying blueprint and thus show the interconnectedness between all things. In an early series I focused on the fractal pattern in fish scales, bird feathers and pine cones. Later, I explored the pattern that appears in tree branches, neurons and river networks. Out of this exploration, hybrid creatures ultimately emerged that contained botanical, animal and human elements and I found myself in a dialogue with the artists of antiquity, eg. Pre-Columbian, Hindu and Egyptian, who created chimeras to depict their deities. I explored these ideas in painting for many years before shifting to sculpture and photography.
After creating the sculptures in clay, I cast them in urethane resin and painted them with acrylics. I integrated the sculptures into a natural environment which I then photographed, incorporating various elements of the landscape into the composition and narrative. The creatures' botanically-inspired headpieces connect them back to their origins as branch-like patterns. I painted the headpieces gold to suggest an elevated status or high spiritual level to play with the idea of the creatures as deities from an unknown civilization.
Travel has served as a tremendous source of inspiration in my work. I was profoundly inspired by several trips to India, where I visited temple complexes with extraordinary carvings and sculptures. Also deeply inspiring have been trips to Mexico, Guatemala and Peru where I had opportunities to view the ruins and sculpture of Mayan, Incan and other indigenous civilizations. Important contemporary influences include the whimsical sculptures of Tom Otterness and Charles Simmond's miniature dwellings of imaginary civilizations. Ana Mendieta and Andy Goldsworthy and their collaborations with nature also inspired this work.
All images © 1995-2020 Andrea Morganstern. All Rights Reserved.