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North Woods Chimera

3vv-head-smalles.jpgAccording to Homer, the Chimera from ancient Greek legend had the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and a serpent for a tail. The fire-breathing monster was said to have terrorized the Lycians of Asia Minor before being slain by Bellerophon.

In contemporary usage, the word chimera has lost its ferocity and refers to a mere illusion, an unrealistic fancy, a wild fabrication of the mind. The scientific meaning, however, highlights the ancient beast's genetic fusion: a chimera incorporates the genomes of more than one organism. For example, a bough from a peach tree graphed onto the stalk of a plum tree could be termed a chimera if both peaches and plums flourished on their separate limbs.

Sarina Brewer's North Woods Chimera is rather more provocative: three vulture heads sprouting from the body of a cat. Using only roadkill, donations from veterinarians, discarded livestock, and other already deceased animals, Brewer views her work as a form of resurrection by endowing carcasses and animal remains with a new life and a disturbing beauty. Co-founder of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists along with Scott Bibus and Robert Marbury, Brewer aims to expand the imaginative possibilities of taxidermy by manipulating and transgressing the limits of the natural world. "I call it art," Brewer states, "you can call it whatever you want."

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