Inspired by my late grandmothers love for elephants I began to investigate human interactions with these animals at the circus. I use the circus elephant as a means to show the clash between nature and humanity. In our efforts to become modern, we have encroached upon animal life and squeezed them out of their natural environment in order to entertain us and show our victory over nature. We impress with having the power to make an elephant stand on its head or balance on a ball, making man out to be the ultimate being capable of controlling the largest of animals. Due to our ego, we have mistreated and misused these beings and what the future holds for us in doing so troubles me.
I juxtapose the natural and the man made, using the raw physical presence of the Asian elephant with human trappings such as room interiors, tall buildings, textiles, body paint, and geometric forms to express this friction and disconnect we have with nature and what this says about us. The circus elephant appears incredibly out of place in the environments I place them into to showcase feeling that way in our own lives. I use the circus poster and side-show banner format of painting on un-stretched canvas strung up for display, as a means to advertise this struggle between human and animal as a spectacle not to be missed.
In my oil paintings, I examine human and animal relationships in a portraiture style. The classic medium of oil paint and the classic portrait style cast a dignified and human light on these animals forcing the viewer to think of these creatures in human terms. The animals act as a mirror or a self portrait into our own lives and relationships we have as human beings. Animals are a visual device for internal exploration of ourselves and external exploration of societal traits.
In my watercolor works, I am celebrating the female form in a whimsical portrait style. Celebrating the feminine and the interaction between aquatic life and my female characters in bold saturated hues brings a level of whimsy and quirkiness I strive for in this new series.