The contemporary artist Beth Cavener explores human psychology in intensely expressive clay sculptures of animals. By using animals as her form of art, Cavener tries to expose the darker aspects of humanity, from carnality and hatred to insecurity and apathy.
“Both human and animal interactions show patterns of intricate, subliminal gestures that betray intent and motivation,” she says. “I rely on animal body language in my work as a metaphor for these underlying patterns, transforming the animal subjects into human psychological portraits.”
Cavener achieves the highly expressive quality of her animal sculptures through an intensely laborious process. These contemporary sculpture are made from stoneware on various metal frames.
“I create a focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface, they embody the consequences of human fear, apathy, aggression, and misunderstanding.”
Cavener’s modern sculptures project these emotions onto her sculpted clay figures, showcasing the primitive animal instincts that lie beneath our own exteriors. “I rely on animal body language in my work as a metaphor for these underlying patterns, transforming the animal subjects into human psychological portraits.”
“I want to pry at those uncomfortable, awkward edges between animal and human. Entangled in their own internal and external struggles, the figures express frustration for the human tendency towards cruelty and lack of understanding. Something conscious and knowing is captured in their gestures and expressions.”