Posts Tagged ‘animals’

In the Studio

October 28, 2010

I’m not really sure why, but lately I have been including clumps of animals in my paintings.  They are mostly in unsaturated hues, and silhouetted.  Different animals have different symbolic meanings…some more blatant than others.  I have been experimenting with silhouettes for some time now (especially after being introduced to Kara Walker‘s work), and I find it an interesting way of exploring the essence of a specific shape like a figure or an animal.  The challenge is making sure that you can actually tell what the shape represents!

Sometimes when I have tried to force figures in silhouette they make no sense, but animals are sometimes more recognizeable.  Animals have a rich symbolic history in the canon of Western art and beyond.  I suppose what I am trying to do is to reference the past, but reinterpret it in a contemporary way.  Here are a few detail shots of recent paintings with animal silhouettes.

Above is a clump of quail!  Quail are mentioned a lot in the Old Testament, and have specific ties to God’s provision.  When the Israelites were wandering in the desert with no food, God provided manna and quail for them to eat.  However, one was only allowed to gather enough for one day at a time…otherwise the food would spoil – a lesson in faith!  Here is a neat blog I found that explains this pretty well – Manna and Quail.

Here is a (bad) detail shot of a painting I did with clumps of lamb.  A lamb is a pretty loaded image in Christianity (symbolizing Christ, and even his death – innocent blood shed so that we may live)…so I had to be careful in my use of them!

I haven’t finished the above painting yet, but it has little clumps of flying bees, which are oftentimes a symbol of industry and order, but also of messengers between worlds.  I think I’ll claim all of the above!

For better images of my paintings (except for the unfinished one above), please visit my website – www.robinvenable.com Thanks!