Dorcas Casey is a textile artist based in Bristol, UK.
“The impulse to make sculptures based on recurring motifs of animals in my dreams is what fuels my practice. These images come with an intrinsic sense of vitality and importance and demand to be made into something physical. Seeking to translate the mysterious power of these dreams into tangible objects, I create sculptures that appear uncanny and ambiguous. For me, these sculptures embody a myriad of emotions and sensations in one piece; exploring the unconscious associations we have with familiar creatures.
“Fabric is so malleable it allows me to make my sculptures articulated at the joints. It lends itself to transformation into anatomy because it flexes and stretches like real skin, muscle and sinew. My sculptures slump, lean and move like real bodies. I like this potential for movement to be visible in my sculptures even though they’re static.
“I use hand stitching as the main method of construction for my sculptures, this keeps me very close and involved with the work- I like it’s association with mending, darning and nurturing combined with it’s more macabre connotations of suturing, taxidermy and surgery.”
Dorcas’ work is undeniably dramatic and technically astounding. The size of the pieces and the realistic construction is overwhelming, and yet their softness takes the edge off the work, making it more palatable.
I’m always amazed by soft sculptures and these pieces are a fantastic example of why. Dorcas’ beasts are powerful creations that explore life and death; the bull lies inert, as though it were a piece of meat, yet the contrast in colour and texture of the animal emphasises the unreal quality of the situation. We make a disconnect between the magnificent animals grazing in the fields and the meat that appears on our plates. Somehow Dorcas’ work makes us revisit those notions and think twice.
If you’re near Bristol, you can see these works in the wild at the Gravitas exhibition at Antlers Gallery which runs until 21st April. Be sure to visit Dorcas’ website to enjoy even more of her powerful pieces.
The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.