With “The Folly of St Hubertus,” Elizabeth McGrath fuses German folklore, contemporary materials and her trademark flair for the dramatic into one spectacular sculpture addressing all of the recurring themes in her work - protecting and caring for the vulnerable, taking responsibility for how our actions impact the environment and co-existing conscientiously with the creatures of the earth.
Born in the seventh century, Hubertus was an avid hunter and woodsman who, while in the forest one Christmas Eve, encountered the wondrous image of a splendid albino stag carrying a shining cross between its antlers. Through this vision, Hubertus was moved to transform his life. He laid down his high ranks of office, distributed his wealth among the poor and the church and dedicated his life to honoring the creatures of the forest and protecting animals from needless suffering.
Today, Hubertus is the patron saint of hunters and animal protectionists in northern Europe and his devotees honor him by sharing their feasts with townspeople, holding charity fundraising festivals and being responsible for the care of animals on their lands, both domestic and wild.
With “The Folly of St Hubertus,” McGrath re-imagines the hunter’s transformative vision in gold leaf, wood, wax and over 30,000 hand-placed Swarovski crystals. The fantasy eight-legged creature glittering with bands of reflective light and pierced by golden arrows, is simultaneously confrontational and ethereal. He at once entices with glorious beauty and shocks with profound sadness, giving one no choice but consider one’s own relationship with nature, the environment, those less fortunate and those who can not speak for themselves.
Self-taught, Elizabeth McGrath has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums in the US and Europe including the American Visionary Art Museum and the Bristol City Museum and Gallery. She lives in Downtown Los Angeles with her husband, the artist Morgan Slade, and their hairless dogs Blue and King Tut.