Rogue Taxidermy show brings road kill back to life

"Luca" by Jessica Joslin. Uses antique hardware, silver, brass, leather, bone, glass.
"Luca" by Jessica Joslin. Uses antique hardware, silver, brass, leather, bone, glass. Courtesy of La Luz De Jesus Gallery

This weekend at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Feliz, an exhibit takes the concept of taxidermy to a whole new level.

Instead of just stuffing and mounting animals, artists have created strange hybrid forms: carcasses fused with pieces of machinery, turkey heads stitched onto squirrel torsos.

Rogue Taxidermists describe their craft as the creation of oddities using traditional taxidermy materials and techniques. Guest curator Robert Marbury (along with his partners Scott Bibus and Sarina Brewer) coined the term in 2004, upon forming the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists.

Road kill becomes a central part of their "recycled" philosophy, as are discarded livestock, destroyed nuisance animals, casualties of the pet trade and animals that have expired from natural causes. Other sculptures utilize taxidermy materials with custom stitching to fashion beasts from the recycled pelts of toy stuffed animals. Elements of technology and decoration combine to create ornaments that approach high art, not only in craft, but in concept.

In this show, materials and even species are mixed, helping to broaden presumptive definitions. Pieces in this exhibition span Steam Punk to Rococo — from playful to elegant. Take a look:

On Saturday, May 8, the Rogue Taxidermists will offer a taxidermy masterclass with artist Scott Bibus. The demo will be followed by a squirrel chili game feed prepared by Winter Rosebudd.

And for those of you who feel a bit squeamish about the animals, there is both vegan taxidermy (using acrylic fur) and vegan chili available, courtesy of Robert Marbury.

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