Whether it is the fantastical beasts of Horrible Adorables (Jordan Elise Perme & Christopher Lees) with their overlapping felt scale hides, or the magical realism that embodies the slightly abnormal creations of plushPLAY (Mariangela Tan), or even the 12 in. tall guardian-warriors crafted by POPprolific (Justin Alan Volpe), these are all manifestations of the Furmutation (2017) exhibition’s title.
This myplasticheart showcase’s name can be interpreted two ways, as a hybrid of “fur” and “mutation”, signifying animals that have been altered, or as a wordplay of “permutation”, describing a series of evolving transformations, variables within a single theme. And Furmutation is true to both, highlighting “a variety of fauna inspired hybrids” through primarily soft sculpture contributions.
Throughtout there is an evolution of the flora and fauna into singular beings, such as seen with Horrible Adorables’ Leaf Peeper series that depicts cute critters emerging from cones of leaves. While this could be taken to indicate the charming creatures having taken residence within foliage dwellings, it’s impossible to interpret Tan’s Flower Bun works as anything but a true merging, an evolution of the one into the likeness of the other. Within each of the artist’s realistic looking flowers, the hand-dyed paper petals meet at a needle felted bunny-faced floral disc. And while the hybridization of plants and animals might serve some advantage, especially in terms of camouflage and obfuscation, the next variety of iterations seems more counterintuitive.
In addition to leafy outgrowths on their forms, several of Horrible Adorables’ works are adorned with luscious cherries still on the stem. But this fact takes a stranger implication when the titles of said works are considered, such as Neapolitan Triple Scoop, Spumoni Double Scoop, Chocolate Syrup, and Pineapple Topping, making it seem like the beast itself has been transformed into a sweet treat. A concept that Volpe expands on, having animal heads emerging from ice cream cones with his Frisee Fox, Neapolitan Lion, and Raspberry Shar Pei pieces, of which two incorporate cherries as well.
But the true oddity in this collection is Volpe’s series of humanoid figures, their handsewn attire reminiscent of feudal Japan. Yet the intent behind these becomes more clear once the Mr Mount and The Rider set is considered. By proximity to the needle felted fox, The Rider‘s 12 in. height is realized to be a lifesize scale, making them diminutive guardian-warriors of nature. But for those fearing that Volpe omitted his typical pop culture nostalgia elements, they are included though more subtle than normal; for instance, The Rider‘s clothing uses an original fabric pattern based on the Python Patrol from G.I. Joe. And that is why Furmutation is ultimately successful, as each artist was able to explore the theme without losing what makes their visual voice unique.

More Photos from Furmutation

 
The Furmutation group exhibition at myplasticheart had its opening reception on Friday, April 7th from 7-10pm. All works in this exhibition will remain on display until May 5th, 2017 at the gallery’s physical location (210 Forsyth St., New York, NY 10002).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for the exhibition

For more information on Horrible Adorables:
website | etsy | facebook | instagram | pinterest | blog

For more information on plushPLAY:
website | etsy | patreon | instagram | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | twitter

For more information on POPprolific:
website | instagram

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