It gives new meaning to the term sacred cow; with the zoological world colliding with religion for a new exhibit of saintly creatures at Argyle Fine Art.
“It started this idea of symbols of conservation, like the World Wildlife Fund panda, and how they are saints for endangered animals,” said Ruth Marsh, whose show is called Father, Son And Holy Goat.
The sweet smell of bees wax warming under the lights guide visitors to the show on the second floor of the gallery. The encaustic works — they are made of wax — feature bears, wolves and foxes with holy halos and other religious overtones.
Each work has been carved, painted using melted wax, and gold leafed — adding a richness to the pieces. They combine Marsh’s concern for the environment with her upbringing as a Seventh Day Adventist.
“I am trying to come up with a language of my own that reference religious symbolizing,” Marsh said.
The 24-year-old had been playing around with a number of ideas for this show, but it was only in late-February that this theme began to develop. It started when she created a piece featuring two hippos — called Holy Virgin And Son. “I began thinking of the difference between caring for something and actually doing something,” said Marsh. She decided to turn animals into saints, who we could pray to so they could help their fellow creatures.
This is Marsh’s second show at Argyle. Last April she created a 48-foot-long encaustic work called The Apiary, which illustrated myths associated with the strongman Samson.
“I feel like I have a better hold on the medium now,” said Marsh about working in wax. “It was a bit of a learning curve, and I feel more confident.”