Amy Ross’s Furry Fungi

I’ve recently found myself drawn to art that simply, honestly makes me happy. After years of looking at and blogging about all manner of darque art, all I crave right now are images that make me feel like a child – not in the helpless sense, but in terms of wonderment and the belief that the world is a magical place that opens up to me. Earlier this week, I mentioned that Hirotoshi Ito’s sculptures that had that effect on me, and now I’ve uncovered someone else whose work makes me feel this: Amy Ross.

On her blog, NatureMorph, Ross imagines herself as a mad scientist. As she writes in her artist’s statement:

My drawings offer visual hypotheses to the question: what would happen if the DNA sequence of a plant or mushroom were spliced with that of an animal? Using graphite, watercolor, and walnut ink on paper as well as directly on gallery walls in site-specific installations, I portray animals morphed with branches, mushrooms, berries, and blossoms, thus forming implausible hybrid creatures. These images subvert the traditional genre of botanical illustration by approaching the close study of the natural world through the lens of genetic engineering and mutation gone awry.

I’ve seen similar ideas before – in paintings, in fiction, in taxidermy – but Ross’s gentle treatment feels somehow different, familiar. Perhaps the explanation for that sense is as simple as these pictures reminding me of illustrations from a long-forgotten storybook, or flashbacks to picking mushrooms as a child (a common family activity in Russia). Could I have stumbled on one of these, at an age too early to remember, before it scampered out of sight? One can hope.

Sketch of a tenrec

10 Responses to “Amy Ross’s Furry Fungi”

  1. Nemo Bion Says:

    Such a beautiful piece.
    I had forgotten how much peace is brought to me with mushrooms. Oh how I’d love to have a garden of mushrooms.

    The chaotic thoughts and emotions of the night are now at peace, ready for a new day.

  2. Fritz Bogott Says:

    > wonderment and the belief that the world is a
    > magical place that opens up to me.

    Do you follow Amy Cutler? Her art has that effect on me.

  3. Tequila Says:

    U know…between the grinning rocks, the bit on ole Alice, the alien egg, and now this…I’m sensing a strange theme/pattern. Gonna have to go all “Pi” to find it but I know it’s there!

    Love how these drawings came as an answer to such a beautifully crafted question…not quite as horrific as the dolled up poodle of another post but strangely in the same ballpark. It’s all wonderfully imaginative, comedic, and potentially part of our future really.

    Will it be too long before genetic splicing kits are as common as say computers in every home in another century?

    Great now I’m thinking of a poodle shaped like a mushroom…it’s strangely appetizing too.

    I dunno about the rest of you but that Giraffe looks delicious!

  4. Zoetica Says:

    or flashbacks to picking mushrooms as a child (a common family activity in Russia).

    Yes! This reminded me of being very little and wondering around the Moscow countryside right after the rain – in search of mushrooms. Rubber boots and a basket and the smell of wet leaves.

  5. Jessica Says:

    Wonderful Nadya! Thank you. You’re really on a roll with these past few posts…let ‘er rip!!! :)

  6. Alice Says:

    Beauteous! I’d love to have a framed series of prints to hang in my kitchen.

    On a sidenote, mushroom-collecting is a rustic German tradition as well that’s still thriving in many areas! Whee!

  7. Mer Says:

    Oh my god, Nadya this made my day! I’m SO IN LOVE. Obsessive as I am about all things fungal and forest critterish, I MUST OWN PRINTS.

  8. fortheloveofthestars Says:

    Are those collages?

  9. amy ross Says:

    Nadya, thank you so much for featuring my work here! And what a treat to read all the comments. Thanks to all of you for the mushroom love! (And yes, the top four images are collages.)

  10. kai Says:

    Oooooh I love it. It reminds me of Alexis MacKenzie and Claudia Drake.
    I love Max Ernst’s “Une Semaine De Bonte”. I think that it was a starting place for all these artists.