Since prehistory, humans have lived in close contact with wild animals. It’s no wonder that animals have provided the inspiration behind most of our mythology, where animals serve as stand-ins for humans or human characteristics. Laura Ball is one such artist, who deconstructs animals into dynamic, almost mythical, designs. First featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 31, Ball’s watercolor paintings often portray a combination of endangered species, on the verge of becoming myths themselves. For her current exhibition, “Keep”, at David B. Smith Gallery in Colorado, she expresses her desire to create a safe place for these creatures. Wrapped up in a mess of gangly legs, antlers, feathers and botanical elements, her animals feel somehow encased, and therefore preserved, within each piece. The energy in her work is matched by the personalities that Dave Eggers gives animals in his debut as a fine artist. A well known author by trade, Eggers first rose to fame for his best-selling memoir “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” and for his subsequent work as a novelist and screenwriter. His exhibition of silk-screened works in the gallery’s project room is, in Eggers’ words, “loose and uncomplicated.” His drawings combine wobbly red-colored doodles of animals like bison and poodles with comical phrases like “My Ancestors Ate Portions of Your Ancestors” and “Please Don’t Tell Me About the Sixties”. Unlike Ball, who plays with associations in her art, it’s hard to pinpoint any relationship between Eggers’ subjects and ideas- and perhaps because we aren’t meant to. His images are nonsensical or vague at best, but in the true fashion of his’ writing, they are undoubtedly thought-provoking.
Laura Ball’s “Keep” and works by Dave Eggers are now on view at David B. Smith Gallery in Colorado through November 14th, 2015.