Exhibition > Featured Artists
Beverly Archer’s bucolic herd of ceramic cows - entitled Byproducts takes center stage in
Xiem Gallery’s Spring Collection, creating the perfect setting for a selection of fresh, new
work from a number of Xiem studio artists.
But look again. Each cow bears a name alluding to a brand or product in which cow byproducts
are used - Estee, Manolo, Heparin, Gummy Bear, Dynamite, to name but a few. As always, Beverly’s
work carries multiple layers of meaning, which unfold and confound on close reading.
“First things first. I eat cows.
But, naming these pieces after byproducts of the beef industry is not meant to condemn
or support using animals for the comfort and nourishment of man.
I mean simply that life is complicated.
If I decide not to eat animal flesh must I then also decide not to eat gummy bears,
put tires on my car or use insulin should I need it? Conversely, if I decide to use animals as food does my decision end there? Can I eat an animal but throw away the inedible parts?
Or am I constrained to buy expensive leather goods rather than plastic or cloth?
And, by extension, do I have a moral obligation to examine all sides of every decision
I make and opinion I hold?
What a concept.
Think, then talk.
Most of the time I do the opposite.”
2008: A YEAR OF THE PIG: A Beginner's Journal
“There was so much to learn.
Despite the fact that I began with 365 pigs I never thought back then that I would be able to
count on two hands the number of pieces I have made that are not critters. I can not seem to
divorce myself from them. Nor do I want to.
Our relationship to other animals is quite a complex one, of course. We tend to imbue them with
attributes and feelings we admire. We find our domestic companions delightful, amusing, courageous
and intelligent.....all attributes we would like to see in ourselves. We even find the critters we
eat to be companionable as well as useful.
Perhaps I will branch out eventually. Perhaps to wild animals. We think them fascinating, noble
and mysterious. And yet, we threaten them, hunt them or ignore them and fail them constantly.
One can’t know for certain but I imagine that in years hence I will still be working on the animal form.
There is so just much to learn.”