Jeffrey A. Raasch's Manimal, made with talc, clay and acrylic paint, was a gift from the family of Bob and Jo Darnell, pictured above with the winner of the naming contest Rebekah Nabors, who credited her 1-year-old son Tommy with the inspiration. The Museum’s contest to name this sculpture in 2011 drew over 350 submissions, from people of all ages living in and around Hickory and beyond.
Jef Raasch (pictured on the right above) says of his work, “My sculpture represents the symbiosis of life; all creatures mixing together to form a greater existence.” He draws his inspiration from mythical creatures as well as from his concern over the threat of the extinction of many plants and animals. The life-size human form of Manimal is composed of dozens of different animal species, most native to North Carolina.
Raasch creates in clay, using representations of real animals as the building blocks. “[I] feel the clay ooze between my fingers. With it I fashion the things I've seen and imagined, into the three dimensional canvas onto which I paint. … I do not pre-draw my designs; rather I start with an idea and allow a story to unfold on the piece. From there I like to take the elements and visually stack and mix them into a rich mélange. … Once fired I then have a three-dimensional canvas on which to paint. To me the painting is as important as the sculpting.”
Raasch studied art at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, graduating in 1987. His work has been widely commissioned and shown. A sculpture similar to HMA’s was the “Best of Show Award Winner” at the Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis in August 2009. He lives in Milwaukee, WI where he has established his own studio.
On September 12, 2014, Scott Owens' poem about Manimal, then displayed behind the glass door leading to the third floor Folk Art Resource Room, was posted on Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art.
SEEN THROUGH A GLASS DOOR
After “Manimal” by Jeffrey A. Raasch
A thing like a man knows no peace.
A thing like a man carries the past
in his hands, refusing to give up anything.
A thing like a man wants more.
A thing like a man doesn’t mean to be
mean, or callous, or cruel.
A thing like a man is never satisfied.
A thing like a man will wander
through his house at night looking
for ways to make things better.
A thing like a man knows
he can never know enough,
knows there is never enough time.
A thing like a man knows
the shadow beneath his feet
will eventually prevail
and all that will be left of him
is the consequence of what he does.
Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since our blog's inception in March 2015.