• russell wrankle

Frypan and the Hare

Several years ago, while frying eggs in an iron skillet I started to admire the form of the pan. And as artists do, I thought "I should make this", because adding a new element creates a shift in perspective. But making just a ceramic replica of a pan wouldn't satisfy my creative impulse. I like making objects, but I'm much more interested in recontextualizing the thing that I make. I've done it with binoculars, dogs, guns, etc and I was already skinning rabbits in my work (See Coming of Age in Palm Springs, California in this blog), so I figured I should find a way to combine the frypan and rabbit skin.

With the "Frypan and the Hare", I took the existing idea of a skinned rabbit that I have been working with and folded in something new. I wasn't sure if stretching a clay skin over a pan would work, and I wasn't sure if I had the technical skills to pull it off. There were many formal considerations as well, such as what is the placement of the head in relation to the legs, and how does gravity affect the tension on the skin in relation to the tension created by the pan. Then there's color and contrast and the level of shine on each of the elements.


This is the third iteration of this idea. For this one, I used a red tool dip, or rubber, on the handle to level up and distribute the visual focus. I also have a student who brought me a handful of old square barn nails from his home town in Kanab, Utah that I think work a lot better than a new 16 penny nail that I used for the first two.


I'm not sure what this piece means, and I don't think that I need to. I like art that is open-ended, art that is mysterious, where there's room for the viewer to make up their own story. I can imagine if this were real, you would find it hanging in an old abandoned barn somewhere in the desert of Utah. Left behind by a bored farmer who spent the afternoon culling an infestation of rabbits that were destroying his crop, or a roughneck kid, from before there were iPhones, who, out of boredom wandered the desert, shooting rabbits with his hand me down, 22 caliber rifle, and found an old skillet in the barn. The why is up to you.


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