Beth Cavener explores human psychology in intensely expressive clay sculptures of animals. By using animals as her vehicles, Cavener attempts to lay bare the darker aspects of humanity, from carnality and self-loathing to insecurity and apathy. “Both human and animal interactions show patterns of intricate, subliminal gestures that betray intent and motivation,” she says. “I rely on animal body language in my work as a metaphor for these underlying patterns, transforming the animal subjects into human psychological portraits.” Cavener achieves the highly expressive quality of her sculptures through an intensely laborious process. She extracts her figures from solid blocks of clay, every gestural passage the result of her own physical labor, and then slices them into small sections, hollowing and reworking each in order to heighten its sense of life and internal energy.