Meet the Collector of Once Furry Friends – Now in Absentia

Jennifer Walrath has a collection like no other we’ve seen. Learn the story of what inspires her to collect these once-living quadrupeds!

What is it that you collect? 

North American Mammalian Animal Skulls

Tell us everything about this collection! What attracted you to this? What do you like most about it? Which one is your favorite? 

The architecture of an animal’s skull holds hints of awareness. Voluminous curves, the thickness, and the absence of bone showing where the senses and mind were held. Skulls are the scaffolding of living beings and I have always found this fascinating. A couple of my favorite skulls are the otters and the feral pigs. The otters because of his large braincase and the pigs because of his long curved canines and bumpy postorbital processes.

When did you start your collection? 

I started my collection with a brown bear skull I was given by a taxidermist in Salmon, Idaho in 2007. I was really struck by its beauty and a little saddened. I developed a relationship with Chris and talked him into sending animal skulls to me here in Philadelphia. I like to think I am giving them a second life… honoring them and studying their structures. As a biologist I am always thinking about evolution and how you can not have form without function. Nature is efficient that way.

What else do you enjoy collecting? 

I like collecting and writing in journals. I have so many journals!

What inspires you most about having your collection in your home? 

What I love most about having my skull collection in my studio is the fact that I can access them anytime for artistic inspiration. I really get lost in them. I plan on creating a series of clay vessels based on their anatomy and focusing on their dentition.

I was a choreographer and modern dancer for most of my life. It is the balance between energy and stillness that I carry into my art. I reflect this discord in a gesture and painterly contemporary style. I use a variety of media to create a raw, yet, luminous painting in oil, layering pastels, glazes, pencil, charcoal, and develop painted collages of varying surfaces. I create paintings directly from a model's pose and the subtle nuances of that gesture. I paint in a realistic approach, and yet, abstraction tends to take over. I have had an extensive career teaching art to students of all levels and ages. My teaching is an integral part of my art making process.
Nancy E. F. Halbert
Nancy E. F. Halbert

I was a choreographer and modern dancer for most of my life. It is the balance between energy and stillness that I carry…

I was a choreographer and modern dancer for most of my life. It is the balance between energy and stillness that I carry into my art. I reflect this discord in a gesture and painterly contemporary style.…

I was a choreographer and modern dancer for most of my life. It is the balance between energy and stillness that I carry into my art. I reflect this discord in a gesture and painterly contemporary style. I use a variety of…

Andrew Chalfen's colorful abstract-geometric paintings, drawings, and mixed-media pieces are dense, vibrant worlds of precisely rendered patterning, suggestive of aerial views, cartography, architectural renderings, psychedelia musical notation, urban-like densities, circuitry and digital life. His process is a mixture of focused intentionality and generative randomization strategies.
Andrew Chalfen
Andrew Chalfen

Andrew Chalfen's colorful abstract-geometric paintings, drawings, and mixed-media pieces are dense, vibrant worlds of precisely…

Andrew Chalfen's colorful abstract-geometric paintings, drawings, and mixed-media pieces are dense, vibrant worlds of precisely rendered patterning, suggestive of aerial views, cartography, architectural…

Andrew Chalfen's colorful abstract-geometric paintings, drawings, and mixed-media pieces are dense, vibrant worlds of precisely rendered patterning, suggestive of aerial views, cartography, architectural renderings, psychedelia…

Bomze sees painting as mark making, where drawings become meshed into paintings.
Rachel Bomze
Rachel Bomze

Bomze sees painting as mark making, where drawings become meshed into paintings.…

Bomze sees painting as mark making, where drawings become meshed into paintings.…

Bomze sees painting as mark making, where drawings become meshed into paintings.…

Susan Leshnoff's visionary painting of skies + landscapes provide insight into nature's peaceful core. The brilliant colors evoke the the harmony and spiritual dimension of nature.
Susan Leshnoff
Susan Leshnoff

Susan Leshnoff's visionary painting of skies + landscapes provide insight into nature's peaceful core. The brilliant colors…

Susan Leshnoff's visionary painting of skies + landscapes provide insight into nature's peaceful core. The brilliant colors evoke the the harmony and spiritual dimension of nature. …

Susan Leshnoff's visionary painting of skies + landscapes provide insight into nature's peaceful core. The brilliant colors evoke the the harmony and spiritual dimension of nature. …

 My paintings frequently lead me through mysterious places that hint of dreams, memories, landscapes, or the dense rhythms of music.  Bold colors and free  gestures can produce  serene minimal paintings suggesting alternative universes or ways of thinking.
Katherine Kurtz
Katherine Kurtz

My paintings frequently lead me through mysterious places that hint of dreams, memories, landscapes, or the dense rhythms…

My paintings frequently lead me through mysterious places that hint of dreams, memories, landscapes, or the dense rhythms of music. Bold colors and free gestures can produce serene minimal paintings…

My paintings frequently lead me through mysterious places that hint of dreams, memories, landscapes, or the dense rhythms of music. Bold colors and free gestures can produce serene minimal paintings suggesting alternative…

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