ANIMAL INSTINCT: ALLEGORY, ALLUSION, AND ANTHROPOMORPHISM
Through June 5, 2011
John James Audubon, Entrapped Otter (detail), oil on fabric, collection of Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection; photo by John R. Glembin.
Since prehistoric times, only human beings have rivaled animals as the foremost subject of art. When the kingdom Animalia is broadly defined, Homo sapiens are full-fledged members—like it or not. That humans are animals is a point frequently set aside in favor of the vast divide between “us” and “them.” Today, perhaps more than ever, artists are tapping into the wellspring of symbolism and metaphors that animals offer. It is, in fact, the underlying commonalities between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom that lie at the heart of our fascination with them.
In works from the early 1800s to the present, more than forty artists in Animal Instinct astutely employ animals as human stand-ins, drawing on their endless traits and characteristics to address complex human subjects.
Artists included in Animal Instinct are: Bill Traylor (AL; 1854–1949); Shonto Begay (AZ); Richard Ross and Tara Tucker (CA); Jesse Aaron (FL; 1887–1979); Laurie Hogin, Mike Noland, and Robert Lostutter (IL); Sachiko Akiyama, Cynthia Consentino, Walton Ford, and Shelley Reed (MA); Julie Buffalohead, Star Wallowing Bull, and Andréa Stanislav (MN); Anne Lemanski (NC); Felipe Archuleta (1910–1991) (NM); John James Audubon (1785–1851), George Boorujy, Louise Bourgeois (1912–2010), Tricia Cline, Fay Ku, Ruth Marten, Emily Roz, Deborah Simon, Kiki Smith, and Kako Ueda (NY); Casey Riordan Millard (OH); Evan Harris, Josh Keyes, and Kate MacDowell (OR); Adelaide Paul (PA); Duane Slick (RI); Keith Carter and Lloyd Walsh (TX); Joe David, Sherry Markovitz, Preston Singletary, and Beth Cavener Stichter (WA); Gina Litherland, Roy Schaefer (deceased; dates unknown), Rabbett Before Horses Strickland, and Tom Uttech (WI); and Christine Sefolosha (Switzerland).