While a recent illness sent me to the hospital, an interesting phenomenon happened. For about a week, I was visited by a host of animals.
It happened every afternoon right at sunset when it was just starting to get dark. Into my room would flow a menagerie of wild animals. I say ‘wild’ but in fact they were all familiar to me. All of them were animals that I had seen including raccoons, foxes, squirrels, deer, bobcats, and a moose. Amazingly enough, one night that moose got up on my bed and rubbed his head against me!
The other unique attribute that these animals all had was their color, or absence of it -- they were an off-white, almost grey. There were no details, just the animal in its outline and shape. As they flowed into the room, they would all sit bunched together on shelves. The groupings were like still lives--but of vibrant, living animals.
In this new series based on this experience, I have created some of the animals that visited me, but they are just the essence of the creature, without great detail or ornamentation. I am hoping to capture that purity and spirit of these spectral visitors that I was fortunate enough to witness for a brief period of time.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Portraits Animaux, August 17 - September 11, Jane Sauer Gallery, Recently on face book, a woman tagged one of my pictures FOUR times, telling me how much she loved the image. I did not know the woman; the image was of a head shot of one of the earliest rabbits I had made. Here is the image from face book. I kept looking at the image, trying to figure out why she was so insistent on pointing it out, again and again -then it hit me- the photo reminded me of something, and that was the expressive portraits and caricatures that Honoré Daumier (French-1808 –1879) created in Paris. This is the new piece based on that earlier rabbit. (I had seen the amazing grouping of politicians that the Musée d'Orsay had on exhibit in Paris when I was younger, and obviously the images have stayed with me ever since.) In this new body of work, my main inspiration has been the political portraits that Daumier became so well know for. Other influences have been the steam punk movement, the Broadway play War Horse, the book Watership Down, where animals have been placed into human settings and situations. I have started with animals I have seen in the wild, also ones that might be seen in the southwest, and animals that can be build with wild and funky material, such as river otters, toucans, crows, and rabbits. I am also selecting animals that have an affinity or likeness to some of the characters that Daumier created. Just like Daumier capturing the qualities, foibles and vices of man, animals too have those same qualities. I am figuring that just about every animal culture has its hierarchy, just like in the human world, right? I am hoping to capture the humor, humanness, and universal qualities in each of these characters.