When The Moon Howls
When the Moon Howls explores the enchantment and disenchantment of the forest after centuries of domestication and fragmentation. The various rooms of the installation become a haunted house where myth, fairytale and folklore are entangled. In search of wilderness Wetherly composes a new ritual narrative to investigate endurance, fear and isolation, drawing on her experience of walking at night. Wetherly works with the labyrinth layout of the gallery: serpent candelabras line the corridors and strange faces peer at you from every direction. The first room is a frozen garden. Stone and ceramic sculptures represent the hard surfaces of the winter landscape, flowers dangle from delicate claws, while creatures watch from the shadows.
The show is a dreamscape. In the next room is a she-wolf, both costume and shapeshifter. It is a visual memory of the artist’s experience walking the Rennsteig, where in response to fear and disorientation she describes inhabiting a wolf's clothing to reconnect with the wilderness and as an antidote to and escape from the monotony of farmed forestry. This metamorphosis channels radical ways of thinking and connecting to the non-human. Wetherly continues to explore shapeshifting with the listening masks. The large ears and humanoid faces of these bats remind us of elves and other folkloric beings. A metallic receiver forms a crown in the place of the third eye: a reminder to listen deeply to sonic echo, the murmuring mountains, the whispering trees and the purr of wings.
Wetherly weaves a story using animal allegory to unite contemporary and historical narratives, to reclaim the fairytale, and to encourage guardianship of the precious fragments of forest we have left. Supporting the exhibition is a publication which describes her experiences here in Thuringia, in particular her walk of the Rennsteig. It is interspersed with an image essay of the hawthorn forest on Ettersberg Southslope. These images are then projected onto the walls of the final room, the strobe mimicking a flashing torch as they escaped the tangle of branches. The publication also includes a short story written by Harry de Moraville about a child raised in a strictly scientific regime who begins to find new, healing depths in the natural world around him.
Order the publication here.