While this body of work seems to imagine individual species of animals in an idealized form, it is important to bear in mind that the intent is not to romanticize. On the contrary, the motivation stems a good deal from a sense of despair.  In ordinary iconic parlance of our society an image of a noble beast allows human beings to easily compartmentalize their guilt into a feeling of distant admiration.  A logo is enough to make us realize that pandas should be protected as gentle and noble creatures, but fails to inspire any behavioral modification, and even fails to engender such feelings about endangered animals at large.

 

Here, by portraying attractive animals as anthropomorphized saints, these creatures can attempt, as saints, to intercede on behalf of other animals. Unfortunately, for them, it is we who are the gods to whom they appeal for help on behalf of their brethren.  We, who live in a world where we can purport to lower our carbon footprint simply by clicking a checkbox on our facebook profile (between checking our email and instant messaging). The belief that this is sufficient prevents us from actually doing anything different.

 

It is beyond the intended scope of this show to criticize and motivate us into action.  It will be counted successful, however, if it simply clarifies in the viewer’s mind the difference between caring and acting.  Should the imploring eyes of the petitioning saints prove sufficient in themselves to spur greater action, then I will have succeeded far beyond the aim of illuminating hypocrisy.

 

This series is a blend of mutation and holiness which I find can often be interpreted as the same thing.  There is little difference in the quality of attention bestowed between the sacred and the grotesque, and in some cases monstrousness itself provokes a strong impulse of reverence.  In any case, in this world, the two also come to the same end.  Sheep and goats, in this case, carry heavy symbolic baggage as Christian metaphors.  Goats here represent unholy or contrary beings, while sheep carry the opposite connotations, including the related symbolism of conformity.  However, the literal members of the animal kingdom, as well as their allegorical counterparts, each will share in the eventual environmental crisis-cum-apocalypse.  More and more understood as the canary in the coal mine of the ecosystem, the ubiquitous bees are the harbingers of this apocalypse.  While neither the cause, nor active participants, the bee has nevertheless become the unfortunate herald of ecological calamity.

 

The work is autobiographical in that I seem unable to escape my personal religious symbolism.  I grew up as a member of an apocalyptic cult and so spent most of my childhood in an atmosphere of constant awareness of the impending doom of the earth.  Although I have since separated myself from this point of view I nonetheless continue to find connections in my work between the current environmental crises and childhood dogma.  By using the vocabulary of religion , I feel that I have created an artificial mythos that presents the world not how we imagine it, but as the far more fantastical place that we have made it.  Through these pieces I invite the viewer to share this world with me.

 

 

 

Holy Goat, 2008

Encaustic

48” x 48”

 

Sun Sheep, 2008

Encaustic

24” x 24”

 

Golden Eagle, 2008

Encaustic

24” x 24”

 

Leatherbacks, 2008

Encaustic

48” x 48”

 

Duelling Sheep 1, 2008

Encaustic

12” x 48”

 

Duelling Sheep 2, 2008

Encaustic

12” x 48”

 

 

Duelling Polar Bear 1, 2008

Encaustic

24” x 24”

 

Duelling Polar Bear 2, 2008

Encaustic, gold leaf

24” x 24”

 

 

Moon Sheep, 2008

Encaustic, gold leaf

24” x 24”

 

 

Ode to the Lorax, 2008

Encaustic and gold leaf

24” x 48”

 

 

Hurly Burly, 2008

Encaustic, gold leaf

24” x 24”

 

 

Guadalupe, 2008

Encaustic, gold leaf

36” x 24”

 

Friendly Foxfire, 2008

Encaustic, gold leaf

36” x 48”

 

 

Fennec Fox, 2008

Encaustic, gold leaf

24” x 24”

 

The Queen and Her Attendants, 2008

Encaustic, Gold leaf

48” x 24”