Drawings, Oil Stick & Graphite Powder

Alterity

Alterity is a series of eight oil stick and graphite powder drawings on primed Arches paper. When the oil stick dried I rubbed graphite powder onto the surface, giving it a metallic sheen. Alterity is a philosophical term meaning “otherness”.  It refers to the principle of exchanging one's own perspective for that of the other.  

Each of the Alterity drawings' main character is a dog.  Dogs are perhaps our closest companions in the animal realm. They symbolize a wildness that, regardless of the degree of their domestication, they have to some extent retained of their original, "untamed" nature. The drawings are also populated with additional animal and human forms. There are other elements present too, such as weather (rain), bodies of water, chromosome X-shapes and dotted lines. Each image also contains a word or a line of text that relates to an awareness, or lack thereof, of our intrinsic relationship with animals and, more broadly, the environment as a whole.

Human relationships with animals are complex and varied.  We often view them through our own lens, as though they exist in relation to our needs or compete with us for space and resources. Like them, we began in "wilderness", but we humans have evolved into animals that are for the most part detached from cycles in nature. Many of us feel this loss acutely and strive to re-enter this wilderness. Is it possible to co-exist with animals and see them as part of ourselves, yet honor them as unique and mysterious others?

 

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Opportunists Fauna

Opportunists Fauna consists of twelve oil stick and graphite powder drawings on primed Stonehenge paper. Each image depicts an animal considered "invasive" in the bio-region in which I live. While working on them I felt that the oil stick colors were too "pretty" and made the animals look overly cute.  I wanted them to have a more shadowy presence to reflect our ambiguous relationship with them, which the graphite powder added. There are numerous introduced species that flourish uncontrollably, to the detriment of indigenous animals and plants because natural constraints are few or non-existent. We make every attempt to reduce their numbers, but they have learned to adapt and thrive in the environments we have constructed. Often referring to them as nuisance species or carriers of disease, they seem to exist in the darker, murkier places that inhabit our subconscious. However, the idea that they are entirely "bad" may be somewhat misplaced, especially when we overlook our own role in their transport, either intentionally or unintentionally, on our various migrations across the planet.  Like us, they are driven to survive.