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Chimera of Self

Theresa Felice


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We are a chimera of the self that we built and the self that we hope for in the new year. In a way these are small self-portraits. This creature has grown agitated and alert, protective of what they carry-their past and future, their child-self and new ambitions.

6"H × 5"W × 5"D
Raku-fired ceramic and acrylic paint
Keep in dry, climate-controlled space.


With the adorable beasts I create, I explore feelings of love, attachment, and identity. My work grows out of traditions of sculpture, embellishment, and veneration, and has been shaped by animal symbolism in mythological and fairytale literature. I create contemporary “reliquaries” that protect and attempt to preserve what is precious to me, depicting animals nestled in adornment that guard “relics” embedded in their bodies, whether it be imagery of innocence or a physical object. They act as protective guardians and reflections of myself. I am specifically drawn to the historical visual language of veneration that is seen in religious, Catholic art and architecture. The baroque, gilded, and exquisite aesthetically designate the sacred, and the feelings that are felt towards it. I enjoy using adorning patterns because they embody my interest in the ornate, culturally specific to my Sicilian heritage and found throughout the Mediterranean. I am interested in the way reflective surfaces and metallic embellishments operate as surfaces because they have changing qualities that play with light and create a physical embodiment of “magic” as it glistens. Animal characters inspire an intrinsic empathy and nostalgia for audiences. With these characters, I create a place where I can materialize my feelings and package them into whimsical creatures that help bear the burden of my anxieties and guard my attachments, while also seeing myself reflected in their expressive faces.

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