Human’s relationship with the environment and animals has always been complicated. This exhibition explores the longstanding love affair with animals and how that affects them and their landscape. This show features ceramics by Calder Kamin, paintings by Casey Polacheck and photographs by Areca Roe.
I sculpt animals in ceramics, some that resemble kitsch figurines and others rendered slightly more realistic. Biophilia theory explains that humans inherently need to coexist with a nature, yet our capability to construct the type of nature we want affects biodiversity. The mammal with the “largest brain” and the “biggest heart” will favor its emotions over responsibility. For example there are more tigers existing in Texas than in the wild due to a lack of regulations for breeding exotic animals and the destruction of their native habitat. There is something wrong with manufacturing animals for human interest when we don’t make space where the species belongs. My fabricated fauna illustrate our complicated relationship with animals.
The works rely on an array of subtle narratives, simple fragments of an idea. Each attempts to convey puzzles of representation and inherent faults of imagery, natural or fabricated. They hint at parody of the pictured world and the narratives that surround them, from the source of a work’s inception to its viewing. Often the works call attention to themselves. They may not always function as a metafictional piece of literature would, but can carry a similar tone or sense of self-awareness. There is meant to be something to ruminate over, but for no more than the sake of an enjoyable thought. No idea depicted is wholly mocking or reliant on its visual cynicism. Those ideas can remain comfortably obscured.
Animals represent a multitude of different, conflicting meanings to us, whether we are consuming them, housing them as companions, using their images to decorate our homes and sell our products, or enclosing wild animals. Are we protectors, exploiters, or compatriots? Zoos serve as a clear manifestation of the state of our relationship to wild animals. They are a manufactured point of contact with the wild, and fulfill some need we have as humans to connect with nature, with wildness, and perhaps to have dominion and control over that wildness. The animals are both revered and constrained by us.