Erika Wanenmacher creates intricate, handmade sculptures and installations that explore the conflicted relationship between nature and culture. She has stated that her work is guided by the principles of alchemy, and she often seeks out unique materials to fit her needs and the ideas she wants to execute. The basis for Of the Beasts is Wanenmacher’s own body, which she has covered with glass taxidermy eyes meant for use in a variety of animals (birds, fish, deer, and sheep). In Wanenmacher's sculpture, these are arranged amid a series of constellations that glow in the dark to emulate the night sky. The title refers to animal goddesses, but Wanenmacher has also called the work Skyclad, a reference to a Pagan or Wiccan ritual performed in the nude under the stars. According to the artist, “Both titles relate to the ecstatic experience of being in ‘peak experience’ [a state of universal consciousness] traditionally compared to a mind full of light, like the moon in a cloudless sky or a mirror without any dust on it.” Simply put, this sculptural self-portrait reveals the artist in a self-conceived state of perfect unison with the cosmos, all knowing and all seeing.
Label from One Another: Spiderlike, I Spin Mirrors, March 7–June 1, 2014