Human beings disassociate themselves from other animals. We no longer see ourselves within the hierarchy of the animal kingdom but rather as beings that exist above and beyond its implications.
Drawing is an action in which the maker symbolically recognizes the difference between oneself and those represented. In creating animal portraits the separation between us / them is realized. Using conventions of family portraiture and framing, the printed canvases are stretched like animal skins, simultaneously evoking familiarity and dissociation.
Like signage, color is used to capture the viewer’s attention and suggests the unnatural state of animals. Pastel and primary colors (commonly used in nursery rooms and children’s clothing) remind us of our first associations with animals. In childhood we perceive characters like the Three Pigs and Mary’s Little Lamb as equals. In fairytales and nursery rhymes animals are personified to reflect a morality that society aims to teach. However, reality is contradictory and conversely perverse; many cultures are dependent on the consumption of these animals and availability in the meat and poultry section of our supermarkets.
Mass production and factory farming is critiqued using printmaking as a mode of reproduction to print multiples. The subtle differences between each multiple illustrates the outcomes of bioengineering and the consequence of line breeding that results in generational mutations. The outward similarities conceal the potential implications of a fundamental change.
2003, Animals (Domesticity group exhibition)
Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists, Edmonton, Alberta