Brian and Stephanie
In 2012 Brian and Stephanie Magby purchased a travel trailer to live in while building their home. It was under their mattress, in that Argosy travel trailer, that they would discover a completely intact mouse skeleton. Brian put him on a cork base, made a top hat for him out of an old button and cardboard, painted it black and found a porcupine quill for him to hold as a cane. Stephanie encouraged the addition of a little table with a cocktail set up and their first anthropomorphic articulation was born.
Self-described osteology and entomology artists, Brian and Stephanie Magby, were born just 200 miles apart in 1983; and both recall being engaged with art at an early age. Through their adolescent and early adult years they continued to dabble with what they considered to be a semi-profitable distraction. The early stages of their career realized creative endeavors ranging from carved lamps to jewelry. After several years of creative trial and error they discovered their niche in narrative anthropomorphic articulations. Once discovered, their new body of phantasmagorical story driven sculptures quickly found support.
Their enigmatic sculptures stem from a personal affinity with mysticism and the surreal; and their creative method is no less curious. When the duo first started their bones were sourced from friends, reputable dealers and lucky finds. As the demand for their pieces grew the artists took the next natural step; and started their own Dermestid beetle colonies. In most cases the artists start with fresh animal finds, strip away the hide and internal organs, and put the beetles to work cleaning the bones. Once the bones are cleaned they are sterilized and whitened before being articulated.
Occasionally the artists will articulate a skeleton just as it was found in nature but more often the bones are anthropomorphized to reflect the human experience. The inventive team reveres the opportunity to create chimeras; marrying the frames of several species to reveal something otherworldly. Each piece is finished using a verity of natural and synthetic materials which are assembled using a compendium of archival adhesives. Often it is the tiniest component which launches the construction of the whole scene. The sculptures are mounted to a sub-mount which often incorporates a modern or vintage glass enclosure.
The motley crew credits many influences but few are artists; and most of those are little known locals. Noteworthy artists of influence to the two would include contemporaries Jason Freeny, Jessica Joslin, Keemo, and Hal Hefner. The Magby’s have faced many disappointments and setbacks over the years but have never called into question the discontinuation of their creative interests. Every setback has been an opportunity for a reevaluation of the works direction because they are simply, “Having too much fun.”
The couple took on the artists’ pseudonym Undeveloped Area Farms, a.k.a. UAFarms, in 2013 and continue to actively create new pieces for several bodies of work; their most notable being the Scout Series. The uber creative UA Farms team hopes that their work elicits a smile that cuts through the perception of something which seems outwardly macabre but to them is more often playful. The team, however, is just as covetous of dirty looks, sneers and snide hand gestures. Undeveloped Area Farms is represented at Kasum Contemporary Fine Art in Oklahoma City’s Plaza District.