Kate Coppola’s visceral and ephemeral Beastward


Kate Coppola’s towering heaps of sinuous, interlocked clay animals in Beastward, her recent MFA exhibit at Tyler, are sensual puzzles. To say they have some of Bernini’s twisting, turning Baroque in them is an understatement. Beastward’s relationship to Animal Farm — where animal stand-ins for humans fight for power and suppress the small, weak and ignorant —  is perhaps not intentional, but the heaving, writhing totems bespeak a moral tale where the big brutes win at the expense of the little guys.  Coppola, who was a student of mine at St. Joseph’s University, plans to reclaim the unfired clay (none of the pieces is fired) for use in future work — there must be a ton of clay.  The idea that these creatures will go back to the primordial state of unformed clay — dirt that is, or dust — makes their existence now a little more poignant than if they were permanent members of the community with a price tags.    I have a few more photos at flickr.  And check Kate’s website for more.


2012, kate coppola, mfa show, tyler school of art



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