In the art of taxidermy gesture is paramount, hence for jeweller and taxidermist Julia deVille the most considered aspect of creation is composing her subjects to find a balance between pathos, humour and dignified realism.
Arriving in Australia from New Zealand on the cusp of adulthood, deVille trained as a jeweller and learned further crafting skills studying shoe design before her long hunt for a taxidermy mentorship was successful. Driven by a strong commitment to animal rights, deVille’s creative assemblages belie the heroic, trophy-hunting culture associated with mounting dead animals. In a form of gentle protest she combines precious and semi-precious gems and metals with materials that were once living such as jet (a petrified wood historically used in Victorian Mourning jewellery), human hair and most importantly, taxidermy, to challenge our perceptions of preciousness.
Drawing on Renaissance, Baroque and Victorian art and ideas, deVille creates contemporary 'memento mori' that raise our curiosity through the use of paradoxical processes and materials. While all deVille’s creatures have died a natural death, they live on as beautiful and compelling allegories, begging a reflection on our symbiotic but decidedly unequal relationship with the animal world and our cavalier disregard for mortality in general.