Society of Animal Artists Juried Exhibition
June 10 – August 21, 2016
Animals and humans have a complex relationship. From cave paintings to medieval manuscripts, the history of art teems with animals. Animals have appeared in the visual arts in everything ranging from decoration to symbols and allegories.
Artists who use animals as their main subject recognize their value as a metaphor for human relationship. They inhabit a critical role in a biodiverse environment, yet also act as a vehicle to explore human motivation and choice, both as a society and as individuals. Through the beauty and complexity of animals we are able to see ourselves more clearly.
Although images of animals are often a celebration of the strength and grace of the animal kingdom, there is also an uncertain relationship between humans and the natural world. This relationship is guided by admiration and fear. While domestic animals, as life-long companions, are treated with reverence, we often only seek out controlled interactions, mindful of an uneasy balance of power. Tame animals forever maintain their “wildness,” exposing an instinctive nature rooted in survival. Through a mediation of these imposed categories, artists explore what it means to be animal, human, and both simultaneously.
This exhibition is a mediation of this wild-tame dichotomy, where artists bridge base emotions of fear and awe with the need to exist in an orderly environment, and the ways human experience is enlivened and enhanced by the co-existence of all beings within the animal kingdom.