Thursday, 15 September 2016

A Cat Made of Flowers, A Fairy on a Throne of Bone

A new book from Tartarus Press, a small UK outfit that specialises in expensive but beautifully designed and edited collections of horror and weird fiction and criticism, caught my eye in their latest mailout. They don't use large images on their cover, preferring small insets on smooth fields of solid creamy colour, but the image they did use was quite startling.

At first I thought this was a computer-generated image, like the unsettling digital "sculptures" of Tom Darracott, as seen on the original UK covers for Keith Ridgway's excellent Hawthorn and Child and Han Kang's also excellent The Vegetarian (the first from Granta, the second from Portobello Books).

But when I investigated the artist behind the Tartarus John Collier cover, Cedric Laquieze, I found something stranger and more beautiful. What I took to be a piece of CGI was in fact a photo of an intricate sculpture of bones and flowers.

Laquieze has done a number of strange and beautiful works of art along these lines, from fairies constructed of insect parts...

.. with some on thrones of bone.. more uncomfortably mammalian and human works.

That these images have not been used before for weird fiction is a great surprise--they're much more interesting then yet more tentacles and fog--and well done to Tartarus for recognising the potential.

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