Portraits Animaux, August 17 – September 11, Jane Sauer Gallery, Recently on face book, a woman tagged one of my pictures FOUR times, telling me how much she loved the image. I did not know the woman; the image was of a head shot of one of the earliest rabbits I had made. Here is the image from face book.
I kept looking at the image, trying to figure out why she was so insistent on pointing it out, again and again -then it hit me- the photo reminded me of something, and that was the expressive portraits and caricatures that Honoré Daumier (French-1808 –1879) created in Paris. This is the new piece based on that earlier rabbit.
(I had seen the amazing grouping of politicians that the Musée d’Orsay had on exhibit in Paris when I was younger, and obviously the images have stayed with me ever since.)
In this new body of work, my main inspiration has been the political portraits that Daumier became so well know for. Other influences have been the steam punk movement, the Broadway play War Horse, the book Watership Down, where animals have been placed into human settings and situations. I have started with animals I have seen in the wild, also ones that might be seen in the southwest, and animals that can be build with wild and funky material, such as river otters, toucans, crows, and rabbits. I am also selecting animals that have an affinity or likeness to some of the characters that Daumier created. Just like Daumier capturing the qualities, foibles and vices of man, animals too have those same qualities. I am figuring that just about every animal culture has its hierarchy, just like in the human world, right? I am hoping to capture the humor, humanness, and universal qualities in each of these characters.