Set amongst a native garden bed a skulk of seven bright blue foxes with piercing orange eyes are positioned. They are installed to reference a diorama in a Natural History Museum – having a set size, theme, flora and backing wall with the foxes as the animal component. The artificial bright blue colour against the native flora is a comment on the fox being artificial (introduced) to the Australian environment and the effect it has had on native species. This work considers the way we construct nature and view it in an artificial manner, hence the introduction of the fox in the Australian environment. The work responds to Eden Gardens environmental sensibilities and the Lane Cove National Park, where foxes are listed as key threatening species. Although the work makes a serious comment on the environment it is also intended to be bright and beautiful. “I am a huge animal lover and also see the fox as a victim in this unfortunate scenario”, says Ryan.
Dr Natalie Ryan is an Australian artist based in Melbourne working predominately with sculpture and installation. Her practice explores themes that surround the aesthetic representation of the animal body throughout Western history and its inclusion in contemporary art. Drawing from existing methodologies used for preserving and displaying the animal, she is interested in the process of imaging the natural world and the exchange between science and art that has allowed this.