Catherine Prescott

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Girl with a Mink Pelt
Girl with a Mink Pelt
Oil on canvas, 2004
Collection of the artist


“Persons with any weight of character carry, like planets, their atmospheres with them in their orbits.” Thomas Hardy, The Return of The Native. Zoe, a daughter of friends, had just turned 13 and was in the midst of changing from girl to woman. I wanted to paint about that transformation which, in her, was so clear, so visible. I photographed her in many different poses, most of which pushed her to one side of the line or the other. I also asked her to hold various objects that were in my studio. One was a mink pelt, a road kill that I had found and taken to a taxidermist to be preserved. She held it like a stuffed animal, but it was empty, useless for a child, and even a little threatening. It clarified the ambivalence I saw in the weight of her character.

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