Familiar
(2019-)

The works in this series are intended to be visually seductive, yet confrontational. I hope that viewers are drawn to the pictures and want to meet the gaze of each represented animal, but that sustained engagement isn’t entirely comfortable.

These wraithlike creatures look back. They stare, offering us an opportunity to accept their gaze and to wrestle with the very idea of doing so. What does it mean to look – to really look – into another creature’s eyes? Is it an empathetic exchange? Or a hostile, defensive one? And what does it tell us about ourselves? And about what we were – not long ago, evolutionarily speaking – or what we may yet become?

The series name references the concept of supernatural animal spirits or guides, a notion most closely associated with European folklore and witchcraft, but with ancient roots in almost every culture. On each piece, the animal’s scientific binomial is written on the bottom left and its translation on the bottom right. I consider enunciation and incantation means of creation; in this case, naming as a means of summoning.