My work examines the longing for identity and the subsequent expectations associated with identity and memory. I question how identity is constructed through images, place, memory, decoy, and the miniature. I am also interested in human expectations concerning our relationships with animals. Our imagining of animals stems partly from our cultural environment and could be linked to our imagining of self and family. There is a longing to know our selves through animals. Animals make us more human. I have always been interested in the metaphorical implications of simulation and mimesis. The decoys are life-sized, meant to mimic nature and often used in hunting to lure in or get closer to wild animals. I have been thinking a lot about how humans long to be closer to nature and continually return to it as a place of rejuvenation as we become increasingly detached from the natural world. Yet actual closeness with wild animals is difficult or nearly impossible to achieve except in captivity. I use the decoys as metaphors for my own feelings of detachment from family, nature, memory and my own natural roots and my desire to feel connected. These methods of working with the miniature, decoy, place, and photography allowed me to distance myself, yet at the same time create an idealized nearby place for my longing.


Born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, KENDRA LYNN BULGRIN attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she received a BFA with an emphasis in painting and a minor in Japanese Cultural Studies in 2005. She completed her MFA in interdisciplinary arts at Memphis College of Art in 2007. Bulgrin draws from a unique vantage point as an adopted child and continues to explore the complex issues surrounding her identity, memory, and past. Recently, she has been exploring motherhood and coming to terms with the birth and the ongoing care of her two sons, both with special needs. Bulgrin has shown nationally and internationally, with shows at the Brooks Museum of Art (Memphis, Tennessee), Hardy Gallery (Ephraim, Wisconsin), and at Beijing Normal University (China). Bulgrin has taught everything from Painting to Design at Memphis College of Art, Washburn University, Emporia State University, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and St. Norbert’s College. Currently, she is the director and owner of James May Gallery.