• Artist Statement
    My art practice investigates animal/human connections during moments of personal and ecological disaster, and the ways in which bodies can meld and reform together. I use textiles, animal products (skins, fur, teeth, claws), and pieces of antique taxidermy to explore Western cultural relationships to dead bodies, and the necessity of interspecies strategy and survival during periods of catastrophe and devastation. What does it mean to be a human interacting with an animal at a point of crisis?

    The presence of non-human animal bodies and body parts can invoke anxiety in our daily lives. While we can engage with them as food, as leather, as glue, their more recognizable physical remnants- skins, claws, furs- can invoke deep tensions with our bodies- and, ultimately, with the bodies of our dead.

    I use the products of animal bodies as a physically similar stand-in for the human body: In looking at a dead animal, we are allowed to approach a dead body in a way that is empathetic, familiar, and deeply unsettling in a way that is often impossible in day to day life. While one is unlikely to stumble upon a human corpse in daily life, we are constantly in the presence of dead animals and the physical remnants of their deaths: our sandwich at lunch, our leather shoes. Their physical resemblance to ours is eerie and discomfiting.

    In working with antique taxidermy mounts and skins (many of which are in states of significant disrepair, or outright disintegration), I explore the complex space taxidermied animals can hold culturally: simultaneously reflective of hyper-destructive colonialist scientific and museological enquiry, the kitsch and brutality of the hunting trophy, the rarest of luxury items, and the profound desire to understand and physically touch natural realms unavailable to us. No object is more objectively dead than the taxidermy mount, but they remain posed and lifelike- still and waiting. Unlike animals in the wild, they return our gaze with totality and focus.


    Lizz Hamilton is an interdisciplinary artist from Los Angeles, California. She received her BFA from University of the Arts London: Central Saint Martins, and her MFA in Studio Art from the University of Kentucky. Her studio practice uses textiles, antique taxidermy mounts, and natural materials to explore human/animal relationships in the face of ecological devastation.

    She writes the podcast All Miracles Are Strange, a podcast about grief and the bodies of saints and collaborates with Samantha Hensley to write and illustrate The Museum of the Vanishing Dog, a project that explores museum culture, relationships with official archives, and the limits of curation. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally.