Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Growing a Rabbit

The Great Hare by M. Catherine Newcomb
Artist and loop member Mary Catherine Newcomb is growing a rabbit in the Cambridge Sculpture Garden. This fifteen foot long reclining hare has a pelt made of turf.  This land art installation is part of the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area that begins September 16 and runs to October 2, 2011. This year's theme SURVIVE:RESIST.

In the artist statement for the piece, M. Catherine explains that "According to Algonquian myth, the Great Hare (Michabo)  is considered to be the grandson of the moon and son of the west wind and is recognized as the animal demi-urge." 

When M. Catherine was a young girl, about about the age of ten or eleven, she discovered that rabbits do in fact gather under the full moon.  She had been walking in the woods in Quebec with her grandparents the morning after a full moon when they came upon their gathering place.  This convinced her (and still does) that "something profound and mysterious is going on behind a veil of what we describe as real."

CAFKA volunteers helping with the installation of M.C. Newcomb's work
This work required the help of a team of CAFKA volunteers as is evident from the photos from the installation. Volunteers helped her to install the body and add legs and head which were formed in advance by building turf and earth into welded steel forms. M. Catherine explains that the process of installation  is ongoing. "I am grooming/clipping the turf on a weekly basis as the hare grows into something more hare-like.  I am still growing ears and tail in my driveway and will add them to the hare when they are better established - probably late next week or early the following week.  At this stage it is really important that the turf establishes itself.  I was concerned about getting moisture to stay beneath the vertical surfaces as opposed to just running off - hence the bottles that are attached to deep watering spikes."

Watering the rabbit
For more information about the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area, visit their website here. To see more of Mary Catherine Newcomb's work, visit her website here.

Photos provided courtesy of M. Catherine Newcomb c2011