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Polly Morgan (b.1980) began working as an artist in October 2005. She learned taxidermy in order to satisfy a long held fascination with death and nature and has never sought to preserve corpses traditionally in the creature’s mimicked natural habitat. She sees her frequent decision to preserve the death pose of a creature as a way to extend the moment between death and decay where the cadaver becomes something of fleeting beauty. She has been credited with helping to bring taxidermy up to date and contributing to a shift in public perception of taxidermy by her refusal to use any animal that hasn’t died a natural or unpreventable death.
Morgan’s work has recently shifted from the ornamental to monumental, with Departures, her latest sculpture, consisting of 30 birds of various sizes (from finches to Vultures) harnessed to, and appearing to carry, a man-sized cage. This was loosely modeled on a Victorian invention for a flying machine, whose objective was to harness birds’ flight and steer them using a series of straps. Morgan was inspired to realise the inventor’s ambition, which she saw as sort of conundrum: The machine enables the traveller to fly but enslaves the birds. The birds liberate the traveller but imprison him in a cage.
Selected group exhibitions include Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London, 2006; Heart of Glass, Concrete & Glass Festival, Flora Fairbairn Projects, London, 2008; The Age of the Marvellous, All Visual Arts, 1 Marylebone Rd, London, 2009 and Mythologies, Haunch of Venison, London, 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include Still Life After Death, Kristy Stubbs Gallery, Dallas, USA and The Exquisite Corpse, a Reconstruction Project, 1 Marylebone Rd, London, both 2007.Read more