Juried by Alina Cohen
Animals elicit human’s interest through their simultaneous estrangement from and congruence with ourselves. They mark continuity: they are what we evolved from. But they also mark rupture: the seemingly fundamental disconnect between humanity and the rest of the natural world. The artists in this show work within these connected aporias and contradictions. They employ a wide range of concepts, styles, techniques, and mediums to explore, express, and understand the creatures with whom we share the world. Much of the work is figurative, with nods towards abstraction, fantasy, and science-fiction as well.
Some of the work examines how, from our earliest recorded history onwards, animals have been employed in fairy tales and allegories, possessing both a life of their own, and being used as an instrument for humankind’s intellectual and moral expression. Updating this long tradition, a number of artists deftly weaved what we usually consider more anthropomorphic concerns such as feminism, consumption, and disgust, into their practice. The work ranges across mediums well. Some, as our juror Alina Cohen noted, “used clay to convey animal elements. Assemblage also seems to be in right now—I saw some clear threads, in line with what's up at the Whitney Biennial, that Rauschenberg's influence is as strong as ever on contemporary artists.” While formal techniques and mediums vary, each work, in its own way, attempts to grapple with exceedingly complex, strange, and important relationship humanity has with the animal kingdom.
Opening Reception Friday, September 20th 6-9PM