Troy Emery's sculpture of a bright pink, dog-like figure made of cotton looks cuddly - before you glance at its title, that is: The universe will become extremely dark after the last stars burn out.
"Nature is wonderful but humans kind of exist parallel to it," Emery said.
"The natural world is kind of this huge, sublime space; it's the ultimate boundary."
The sculptures - based on real animals in a form Emery calls "fake taxidermy" - make up a portion of a new exhibition, Strange Nature, opening at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday, October 28.
The contemporary art show is a mish-mash of the "weird and wonderful" specimens from the museum's natural science collection exhibited alongside paintings and sculptures from seven Tasmanian and mainland artists.
Pangolins in vitrines and mounted warthog heads stand next to works like a series of 20 intricate prints from Hobart artist Milan Milojevic, or the glass-blown botanics of Helene Boyer of Invermay.
"It's conceived around the idea that the old museum was one of those cabinets of curiosities that was everything jammed into this space," said Ash Bird, QVMAG's senior curator of visual art and design.
"It was taxidermied animals and geology and historical objects; it was this kind of really strange place to see animals and parts of nature in one system.
"I wanted it to be this kind of weird and glitzy reflection of that kind of space."
The show's Tasmanian works come from the likes of Tom O'Hern, Milojevic and Boyer, while mainland contributions come from figures like Kate Rohde, Laura E Kennedy and Emery.
The Melbourne-based artist's works take centre-stage in Strange Nature, drawing attention with their synthetic or processed materials that are either technicolour or fabricated fluorescents.
"I'm taking an animal shape and instead of fur or leather pelt, I'm putting rope, tinsel, pom poms; I'm swapping it out to make these kind fantasy hybrid animals," he said.
"I think I'm distilling it down into pure colours and textures and vibrant objects that are kind of an exaggeration of things you see in nature."
Meanwhile, fellow Victorian artist and headliner of the exhibition, Kate Rohde, presents sculptures that take the historical concept of a "Wunderkammer" - German for room of wonder - back to their roots.
"People, before they really understood scientific relation, would put all sorts of strange specimens together," Rohde said.
"It was all about aesthetic quality rather than scientific and truthful quality."
Many of the pieces hardly look amiss next to portions of QVMAG's natural sciences displays - some dating back to the museum's first director - which is the point, according to Mr Bird.
"This is a look back at how nature influences artists," he said.
"And nature is strange and weird."
The free entry Strange Nature exhibition is on display at the Queen Victoria Art Gallery at Royal Park from October 28 to March 10, 2024,