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. My work looks into the cultures of anxiety and longing surrounding nonhuman animals, and the ways in which they reflect our deep tensions with nature and with our own bodies- and, ultimately, with the bodies of our dead. 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 hold culturally: simultaneously reflective of hyper-destructive colonialist scientific and museological enquiry, the kitsch and brutish masculinity 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 collaborates with Samantha Hensley to write and illustrate The Museum of the Vanishing Dog, a podcast that explores museum culture, relationships with official archives, and the limits of curation. She lives in Idyllwild, California and works as a drawing and painting teacher. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally.