by Laura Hutson
The off-kilter mad scientist aesthetic of taxidermy is the only link I’ve been able to come up with to connect the two exhibits opening tonight at Vanderbilt’s Space 204. That difficulty is not a complaint — the space typically entertains diverse exhibits that are much easier to appreciate in person than they are to write about in a 150-word preview, but that’s never stopped me from trying. And so: Taxidermy!
Barbara Yontz worked with animal parts to make her “Star Womb Project,” an 8-foot sculpture based on collaborations with an astrophysicist whose experimental data measured the formation of the first stars. The sculpture incorporates hog gut, wool and silk to create a hollow vessel that works like a womb and turns abstract information into sound.
Joining her in the space is Quintin Owens, who uses the bright colors of hunters’ blaze-orange vests to offset dead animals on pedestals. He is currently a studio assistant at Vanderbilt’s department of art.