Artists Explore Human-animal Relationships in “Animalia” Group Show

by CaroPosted on

David Rice

35,000 years ago, man picked up some bones and charcoal off the ground and drew his first cave painting- only instead of painting a picture of himself, he painted animals. He watched the herds cross the plains and thought they were beautiful and magical, and retained this image in his mind and translated them on the cave walls with graceful and accurate curves. A new group exhibition titled “Animalia” at Abend Gallery in Colorado will showcase contemporary artists whose work has been influenced by animals, and takes a look at how we relate to them today. Over the years, animals have provided us with more than just our means for survival; they have had a role in our agriculture, transportation, religious and philosophical inspiration, and at home, have been our loving companions. The artists in “Animalia” explore all of these human-animal relationships, some in highly realistic and romanticized depictions, others in more playful or darkly surreal illustrations. Pennsylvania based painter Julie Bell is one such artist who sees animals for their beauty in wild nature. Her oil painting “Behind the Veil” intermingles the bodies of zebras and with a young woman, as if they were dancing with each other. North Carolina based artist Brian Mashburn portrays animals as emotional and cognitive creatures, here painting an elephant and Plains bison as the last lone survivors overlooking the ruins of a cold, apocalyptic world. Nicomi Nix Turner takes a more symbolic approach and associates animals as beings that should be worshiped or revered. It is said that Christ’s second coming will be on a white horse, and her black and white drawing of a horse titled “The Enfleshing of Christ” seems to suggest the spiritual presence of animals. Take a look at these and more works in the “Animalia” Group Show below, on view at Abend Gallery from January 29th through March 5th, 2016.

Vanessa Foley

Rory Coyne

Lindsey Kustusch

Linda Tracey Brandon

Nicomi Nix Turner

Lauren Levato Coyne

Kevin Sloan

Julie Bell

Eric J Moffitt

Benjamin Björklund

Benjamin Björklund

Aaron Li-Hill

Aaron Li-Hill

Brian Mashburn

Brian Mashburn

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