I recently read an article about a designer who has turned from commercial work to contemporary art. Her sculptures take an intimate look at our use of animals for food. The pieces point to the moment we perceive the animal and when we see it as food. Not only is her work provocative it speaks to the current issue of welfare for animals. This article re-introduced me to an old subject I’ve been thinking of recently. I read the Upton Sinclair book “The Jungle” this past month. I couldn’t put it down, it was a fascinating read. Apparently the meat packing industry has come full circle. This is distressing revelation to me.
Nature does not deceive us; it is we who deceive ourselves. ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762
I had a client visit my studio a few months ago. One of my series of “Evolution of Man” pieces was sitting on a workbench. She gasped at the statue which depicts a woman bend over on all fours with a horse standing on her back. Her response to the piece made me see it again through fresh eyes. Titled “One Trick Pony”, the sculpture addresses the elemental struggle between women and power. While the horse stands on the back of the woman she is attempting to stand up and free herself. I addressed this idea in another bronze that depicts a colossal man pulling a horse from the ground up by a hind leg and another one slung over his shoulder. The piece is titled “Horse Tamer”. I’m looking at the idea of the take off point, when we see liberation from power.
If I give myself a number of images I need to do in a series then I’ll mark them as I draw them on large sheets of printing paper. The best soft toothy rag paper I have ready for these drawings sit rolled in huge tubes my studio right now. I’m going to do thirty different images on this concept of power of man over nature. I’ll revisit it again and again in the charcoal drawings. I feel a need to look at the flip side of our need to dominate nature.