Strangers Of Commanding Aspect

Beast Dead - Sketch   2014   Acrylic on pape

         I try to make sense in pictures of what most often   
           eludes us in our interactions with other animals.

 "We need animals. Animals don't need us, but we need them. 
We constantly look for any kind of connection 
we can possibly get to them." 
Britta Jaschinski (photographer)    

Beast Dead I   2014  Acrylic on paper  

We are lulled and comforted by the false assumptions we make about our dominion, and an equally false idea of “their” cooperation, so we seldom recognise that the anxiety in the relationship comes from both sides.

Draping The Horse II    2014  Acrylic on panel

Strangers Of Commanding Aspect    2014  Acrylic on panel

Untitled 2014  Acrylic on panel

Untitled (Landscape)  2014  Acrylic on panel

Untitled   2014  Acrylic on panel

Untitled   2014  Acrylic on paper

An aspect of my current practice has been to find ways to represent non-human animals while keeping the meaning with them. (Art) Historically we accept that, more often than not, the animal depicted is not actually the work’s subject.

In many of my new works the idea of human refinement has been my starting point. Our refinements of skills and taste… in what we eat and wear, and in how we live… is what reassures us of our difference. We are elegant, urbane and worldly wise. Our sophistication is the crowbar between us that usually prevents a sympathetic and intelligent engagement with animals and animal-ness.

Untitled   2014  Acrylic on panel

Untitled  2014  Acrylic on panel

My Beast mostly avoids a familiar form since it’s not fur or smell, but the particular 
intimacy of mutual need I wish to capture.  

Beast Dead II   2014  Acrylic on paper 

Untitled  2014  Acrylic on panel

Untitled  2014  Acrylic on panel

Beast Dead III     2014  Acrylic on paper

Sketch   2014  Acrylic on paper

Dog in Water  2014  Acrylic on paper

I've found few visual artists who’ve manage to capture this particular emotional complexity, but someone I do look to in this respect is the photographer, Britta Jaschinski, who photographs animals in zoos.
In his book The Postmodern Animal (2000, Reaktion Books), Steve Baker quotes her as saying:

"We need animals. Animals don't need us, but we need them. We constantly look for any kind of connection we can possibly get to them."
It’s a viewpoint that chimes for me because it acknowledges the anxiety I sense. I identify too with her focus away from – though close to - the physical detail, meaning that the animal photographed is often absent from the image or barely decipherable.