Thursday, November 22, 2012

We, The Creatures, a declaration in scratchboard

12112201creatures727”x5” scratchboard
I’ve long been aware that animals in general are not considered fit subjects for fine art, but here is an excerpt from a local ‘call to artists’ with fine art defined as: “The selective re-creation of reality, to express human perspectives and values in a highly skilled fashion, incorporating creative innovation through the medium of painting, drawing,….”
It’s a definition that pretty much rules out a natural landscape or a painting of an animal. In some ways, I get that. There are endless Robert Bateman look-a-likes and Group of Seven Wannabes (the former I loath, and the latter I love) but to erase the ‘other’ by refusing to acknowledge the sentience of animals is a mistake that the scientific community, with their mandate to search for truth however discomfiting, has finally rescinded. Not so the ‘fine art’ community that still cleaves to the Judaeo-Christian trope that Man is the supreme being and the ultimate creation of god, an attitude that transcends actual religious belief (hence in the last century, plenty of irreligious scientists would argue vociferously about the absence of emotion in animals). Now in the twenty-first century, we have an elite arts community that is convinced that any thoughts about non-human life-forms are trite and without consequence and only the mind and works of man are exulted enough to be worthy of exploration. 
I’m not trying to argue that my art is, or is or is not, ‘fine art’. This is not for me to judge.  I am arguing that it is dangerous and narrow-minded to shut out the natural (or non-human) world from consideration.  That as artists and art lovers we should be opening our minds to other possibilities, not shutting them out. And while it is impossible for me to see the world from any point of view than my very own as an individual and a human, the exercise of imagining the ‘other’ is a worthy one.  If there was a little more of that going on perhaps we wouldn’t be treating this planet as both larder and latrine.
And for a little further reading. What is it like to be a bat?  (about defining consciousness, written by a philosopher, but much touted by the scientific community as the explore consciousness in other species.
And, GOOD NEWS, for a change. Just north of where I live, a giant mega-quarry proposal has been scrapped. The power of people who care for more than their pocket books.
Ugh, and having spent over an hour attempting to write something semi-intelligent for a change, I’m hitting the ‘post’ button and firing this off for better or worse.


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i like Robert Bateman :p but also like the group of 7 art(the originals, not so much the knock offs)

i get flack for drawing wildlife so much, its not seen as art by many people but its what i like drawing and that will never change.

kaslkaos said...

You've got it, Jennifer. You make the art what is in you and don't let others stand in the way. It's probably the most important lesson to be learned.

Michelle Basic Hendry said...

It seems abandonment is the latest rage and I have always loved empty buildings. In the and, it if doesn't come from the heart, it doesn't have the impact anyway.

I am so enjoying seeing you express yourself with an enthusiasm and authenticity than it enviable! It's encouraging!

kaslkaos said...

Thanks Michelle. Agreed completely about the 'heart', a very true statement, at least for me (guessing for you too!).


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