May 22 2021 - Jul 04 2021
If you dress up like a deer and go into the woods, what are you? A deer, a human, or something else? In New Fauna, artist Tommy Bruce makes opaque the clear demarcations of human/non-human, real/virtual, and animate/inanimate through his playful yet carefully composed photographs of the Furry community. Bruce's own fursona, Atmus—a white-tailed deer—serves as a stand-in and muse to the exhibition amongst a collection of figures in landscapes both digital and natural. Costumes and bodies dissolve into one, acrylic fur becomes flesh, and avatars come alive. In observing their states of pleasure and peril, one is left wondering whether this world is an enchanted utopic fantasy or the dystopian reality of our near future.
When these furries aren't frolicking in the woods, sleeping in bed, or posing at the club, they are thoughtfully staged in front of digital landscapes culled from the imitative yet preternatural renderings of the natural world found in video games. They feel neither here nor there, existing in a liminal space in which their presence is no less arresting nor real.
"New Fauna collects work from a decade spent immersed in Furry culture. Somewhere between drag, cosplay, and self-identification, the Furry community represents a new phenomenon made possible by our deepening connections to virtual space and media fantasy. Desire—for reintegration into the “natural world,” or simply for an escape from the reality which we must inhabit—sits at the heart of each of these images."