Pieces of animal skull art are common in the Southwest but local artist, Marcy Lally, brings this art form to Kansas City with exquisite pieces she created using the skulls of deer, squirrels, elk and horse in her collection called "Skin and Bones", which recently showed at the Leedy Voulkos Gallery.
Lally's works are of various animal skulls paired with ceramic pieces of flowers, items that have a floral design or are representative of our natural world. Many of the skulls she uses are found at markets and thrift stores but “friends have started giving me skulls, too,” Lally says. She has also made contact with “someone who works Ted Turner’s land in New Mexico” and has been able to obtain skulls that way too.
The ceramic items inset with the skulls are sometimes made by Lally from stoneware or porcelain clay when she is looking for more of an “earthy, tone on tone look” as in her piece New Beginnings made with a ram skull. Lally prefers to use found objects for her work when she wants to create a more “nostalgic” look as in Dancer created with a deer skull.
In Lally's artist statement on her website, she reveals what her inspiration is and ultimately what draws her to the use of skulls in her art: “With life there is death and through my art I am exploring the relationships between the two.” Lally refers to “memento mori” (remember mortality) with her collection, Reclamation featured in the “Skin and Bones” display, as a way to visualize the relationship of life and death.
When asked what legacy Marcy Lally sees herself leaving behind she says that she has “a desire to make beautiful things, be it with clay, bones, beads or flowers.” To her, the meaning, and thus the legacy, comes from being able to put these representations of the universe’s microcosm in her work and having someone get it. That makes her happy.
Marcy Lally’s work can be seen at her next open studio event on October 10 and 11 at the Hobbs Building in the West Bottoms. She is also available by appointment only in her studio or check her website as it continues to evolve.
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