We can all sense that something is off, something is wrong with the world. This unsettling feeling is punctuated through loss, specifically death and the consuming grief experienced by those left behind. We also sense it in the mundane and ordinary experiences of human avarice, illustrated through hatred, pride and selfishness. Some suggest that this is consequence of an event where we chose to separate ourselves from the Divine therefore embracing sin and rejecting truth, leading to separation and death. Others explain this as merely “being human,” conceding that with all the virtues of humanity there are great downfalls. Regardless of the root, we know that things are wrong. We know that the world and all of its depravity is not as it should be.
All my life, I have been trying to reconcile the way things are with the way they should be. We compare our reality to the ideal and attempt to reconcile the hurt and find hope. I am exploring these concepts in my paintings of wildlife, which may be the most exploited group on Earth. These animals are solely subject to our decisions, unfortunately the outcome of our care is actually devastating losses in populations, many of which have become extinct or are swiftly declining toward it. We are so inundated with immorality of all kinds that we have become desensitized and have forgotten many of the simple and beautiful things of life, neglecting our responsibilities as stewards and caretakers.
My paintings are portraits of each animal, work that is intended to communicate a sense of the value and individuality of that being. Many of these paintings are rich in realistic detail, glorifying the natural beauty of the animal, yet some obscure into abstraction insinuating their endangerment and loss, their reality. Other portraits burst with color and life, embodying a world unaffected by human greed, a place where the innocent thrive and live in harmony with nature, the ideal. These seemingly opposing dualities are embodied in each work; evident or subtle, representing that while there is despair, hope remains, and both are woven throughout our lives. The idea of Hope is born in our concept of the ideal; it is what reminds us that despite what we see and experience, there is something greater to pursue.