and other mustelids
by Eugene Parnell
September 4 – 27, 2008
First Thursday, September 4, 2008
Artist will be in attendance the first and final Saturdays of the month.
PUNCH Gallery is proud to present WEASELS! (and other mustelids), an installation by Eugene Parnell of life-sized dioramas which visualize some recent developments in the field of cryptozoology. But don't expect any scale models of Nessie or plaster Bigfoot casts– Parnell focuses on the less glamorous and more obscure fauna at the ragged edge of scientific knowledge.
WEASELS! focuses on the taxonomical family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets, stoats, otters, and wolverines. Parnell presents four partially documented and slightly conjectural species of this family, drawn from both historical research and from the artist's own travels in Sri Lanka and Namibia. The exhibition includes both life-size taxidermic reproductions and interactive digital displays containing historical photos, stories, and documentation to more fully bring to life these highly unusual and little-known animals.
The Ravanamangus, or flying death weasel, is a semi-documented arboreal mustelid native to the high-altitude forests of central Sri Lanka. It glides from treetops using a patagium, or gliding membrane, similar to that of a flying squirrel or colugo, to feed on fruit bats, which it often catches in mid-flight.
The Befleckte Wiesel, Spotted Weasel, or Namibian Breakfast Civet is an enigmatic mustelid (or possibly a viverrid) found in areas of the Namib Desert, and was once a favored pet of the German diamond miners of Kolmanskop, before it became a ghost town after World War II.
The Giant Mormon River Otter is a (presumably) extinct relative of the North American river otter, once found in the freshwater estuaries around the Great Salt Lake in Utah. It was reported by early Mormon settlers in the area in the late 1840's and then disappeared less than ten years later.
The Scarce House Weasel, or Slangekatt, is a highly unusual pack-hunting mustelid. Often confused with the entirely mythical Hodag, it remains part of the colorful folklore of the North Woods of Wisconsin; however reliable eyewitness encounters have been reported as recently as the 1980's.
Eugene Parnell is a Seattle-based artist currently exploring the relationships between animal imagery and early childhood experience. He creates installations and interactive works that navigate the mental geographies of childhood and the politics of Natural History displays. Much of his work deals with natural and cultural history, anthropology, cryptozoology, and the notion of the Exotic, and his thinking is fueled by his extensive travels throughout the Pacific, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He holds an MFA from the University of Hawaii. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, Bellevue Art Museum, Soil Gallery in Seattle, the University of Wisconsin, and in Denver, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Johannesburg, and elsewhere.
***Eugene Parnell’s work will also be on exhibition at the Kirkland Arts Center’s forthcoming group show Nature Freak, curated by Justin Colt Beckman. On view Sept 12 – Oct 4.***
September Hours: Noon-5pm Thurs-Sat,
or by appointment.
In life, the Giant Mormon River Otter stood nearly seven feet
tall and weighed as much as 300 lbs.
Photo: Don Stolley
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