Separately, each artificial nail used by South African artist Frances Goodman is a temporary, expendable object. But when the artist combines them into a single sculpture, she depicts living, “bodily forms” that defy their nature. “Some of the sculptures are abstract and consider ideas of oozing, spreading, and writhing,” the artist says, in a statement. “Others suggest snakes and scaled creatures.”

Take the 2016 piece “Succubus,” below, which emulates both nature’s flora and the female form. “Ophiophilia” and “Medusa” take on the shapes of animal life, serpents that are cohesive and menacing until further inspected.

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