Shadow Migrations

Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award

Wendy Klemperer: Shadow Migrations

Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award: Wendy Klemperer Shadow Migrations

Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award: Shadow Migrations
Wendy Klemperer, Canine Shadow, 2015, Photo by Joyce Klemperer

November 7, 2015–November 6, 2016

Court Square Park, Queens

Enter at Jackson Avenue between
Court Square West and Thompson Avenue

Opening Reception

November 7, 2015, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

PDF of Shadow Migrations Postcard


Shadow Migration probes the phenomenon of animal populations threatened in the 20th century, which in recent years made startling comebacks to the wilderness, to ever expanding suburbs, and further still into the urban world. Bears are in the garbage, deer in the garden, hawks dive from the cornices of high rises to feast on the rich urban population of pigeons and rats. Like the latter “pests”, synanthopic wild animals adapt and thrive on the largesse of urban life.

How far will these creatures infiltrate? What is the response from urbanites accustomed to wildlife mainly through zoos or Facebook animal dynamics to this “intrusion”? The sculptures portray a range of species, many of which are now showing up in “our backyards”. Cut from steel plate, these silhouettes (of large gestural sculptures I have made over the years) are shadows, essences of the original. They appear fleeting, and sometimes fleeing, as many migrants are, both animal and human.

Negative spaces delineate the animals’ form, at times taking the shape of countries. Contours of many nations meld with the abstract shapes forming the sculptures. The park environment shows through this network structure, filling in the silhouettes. Each animal is a melting pot in itself, a species bearing on its body the maps of many countries. All of these nations are represented in the population of Queens- the most diverse community in the world. The countries mapped on each animal are ones where that animal once thrived and are often now endangered.

Creatures adapt as environmental shifts demand. Migration is inherent to animals and to humans, as changes- natural and manmade- force movement to more hospitable climes. Evolution is always in flux.

This installation invites contemplation on the nature of Nature in an urban setting, and under what circumstances diversity prevails.

Who does belong? Who can “We” accept?