Vegan taxidermy to be displayed at Paul Henry's

Paul Henry's Art Gallery in downtown Hammond will display "Menagerie" by artist Erin Cramer.

There's vegan mayonnaise, vegan chicken nuggets and even vegan jerky made with soy, seitan and shiitake mushrooms that's meant to replicate the taste of beef jerky.

Now there's even "vegan taxidermy."

Artist Erin Cramer crafts sculptures from plant fiber, found materials and other media that resemble life-like animal mounts. She calls it "vegan taxidermy."

Her work will be on display in the "Menagerie" exhibit at Paul Henry's Art Gallery at 416 Sibley from Sunday through Oct. 26. An opening reception will take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

"My hope is to engage viewers through approachable art that will spark a curiosity of the mystery and playfulness of the natural world," Cramer said.

She will be displaying dozens of pieces, including realistic-looking animals and "imaginative creatures that call comparisons with the curiosities of Hieronymus Bosch" that artist Rick Therrio has described as "completely convincing."

"Handmade paper’s seductive versatility allows me to create light weight works of art that look like they are made out of anything from concrete to skin," Cramer said. "The fibers I use to make paper include flax, hemp, cotton, abaca, kozo, recycled clothing, and recycled scrap papers."

Cramer, who teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has exhibited her work at The Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, The Flat Iron Press in New Orleans, The Kansas City Art Institute, and The Flasch Collection at The Art Institute of Chicago.

"Viewers should be prepared to experience a shift in worldview as they might also encounter a creature that is not of the familiar world—such as a half-human llama or a desiccated mermaid," colleague Kerri Mommer said.

The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment.

For more information, call 219-678-5015 or visit paulhenrysartgallery.com.

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.