“The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of earth.” —Henry Beston, American writer and naturalist (1888–1968)
Musgrove’s multidisciplinary works focus on themes of exploration, discovery and conservation of the natural world through his depiction of extinct animals that may (or may not) have ever existed. In his distinct style of figurative surrealism; he paints his creatures in pristine environments, as they might have looked before the arrival of humans and rise of endangered wildlife concerns.
The artist’s work is painted and sculpted with an imaginative attention to the anatomical details of his subjects. Through a combination of both real and imagined biological attributes, Musgrove illustrates his creative take on evolution by presenting alternative theories to natural selection. In some instances the animals are posed as if in a diorama, making the works appear like portraits and keeping with Man’s desire to tame and control nature.
Although Musgrove’s artistic approach often has an element of humor due to the whimsical characteristics of his creatures, it doesn’t diminish the sincerity or urgency of the issue. The current rate of the extinction of species is accelerating and it is the artist’s intention to spread that message through his work. He explains, “Unfortunately, it’s too late for these once proud creatures. They are gone and we shall never see the likes of them again. Let us take care with what we have left and make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.”