Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I have made several proposals to regional museums for installations of my work. (There has been interest but no takers yet.) The drawing above is to give someone an idea of what it might look like to have a group of my deer in a museum setting.
Here is the concept for this installation:
I believe that most people (in their minds) quickly develop stories about what they are seeing, especially when it is something recognizable, like an animal. As a visual artist, I am a storyteller, but I want my audience to participate in creating these stories. I just give them the starting point. That is why the animals I build are not detailed, recognizable representations of a specific species, but more of a short hand or rough outline of that creature.
My idea of installing a group of deer came about from observing them in nature and how profound that simple experience can be. Even seeing deer in suburban settings, I felt as if I were observing remnants of some secret society. But I believe that animals are symbolic of the human and animal condition.
The materials that I use to build my animals (such as tree branches, rusted metal, old canvas and found objects) creates a push and pull between past and present, deterioration and rejuvenation, survival and extinction, nature versus man. But in my mind nature has won. My creatures are proof that they are both surviving and prospering.
In bringing a herd of deer into a static, formal setting such as a museum raises many questions: Who is free? Are we wild or are these animals? Are we able to live and be happy in many environments? Do we find comfort in remnants of our past? Do animals cherish the same emotions and memories that humans have? Are we constantly in an internal and external battle to remove the cages that bind us?
This picture is of a deer that I made in 2008. It was exhibited in the Biennial Show at the Albuquerque Museum last Fall.