Animal Threads of Artist Ana Teresa Barboza

I am not yet very good at reading Spanish but I get the feeling from her work that Ana Teresa Barbosa is interested in the body and animals. Her works are mostly created by embroidery on linen but her subject matter is anything but traditional.

I first saw her work posted on twitter as a woman putting her head into the mouth of a lion. When I opened the image I realized the entire lion was embroidered and after that I just had to know more and when I got to her website there were so many pieces that intrigued me I knew I had to feature her work on the Paper Coyote.

 There are so many aspects of her work that I find interesting and the most difficult part of all is not being familliar enough with Spanish to be able to read  the description on her blog but the bits and pieces I can cobble together from the patchy Google translate indicated that Ana is indeed another artist interested in the relationships between animals and humans.

She seems to take a different approach to her theory and from what I can sort of understand is that she sees the idea of "wild" as a collective Jung-ian dream, some vestage of a memory of when we ourselves were less civilized. and looking at her work it seems obvious that we are the vessels in which the dream of the wilderness is made real. The humans are all simple "empty" drawings in black and white and our true animal nature manifests when we behave in ways that activate that dream and connect us back to the animal part of ourselves: hunting, eating, or mating.

There is struggle present as well depicted in literal wrestling matches or in the act of trying to remove a kitten from your nose. I can't say for sure by I interpret that struggle as a representation of the frustration at species being unable to communicate and the never ending jostling for domination and dominion.

Check out her website and if you speak Spanish please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section if you can elaborate on her theories or artist statement. (comments are moderated to prevent spam so don't panic if you don't see it right away)

You can see more of her work and read about it on her blog.





The Dark and Beautiful World of Marc Nerbonne

A friend of mine saw Marc Nerbonne's work and sent me a link to his website and I am so thankful she did!  Marc Nerbonne is a French-Canadian artist who explores the same theme as my work and I am fascinated by his process.

I was immediately struck by the tangible quality of his work to the point where I could nearly feel the warm, wet, fur covered bodies.  In my opinion, it is this emotional reaction or physical response to a work of art that makes it successful because that is how we can connect.

I began working with road kill and images of dead animals in 2007 right around the same time as Marc Nerbonne. It's always exciting for me to discover others whose work is concerned with issues around human and animal interaction but to note how different the manifestations of work on the same theme can be.

He describes his process:
My works of art are composed of elements taking from my own documented photography of road kills, with which I create persona or given life back to the main subject. I dry mount (with an acid free process) on panel my photography, and then start to work on as if it was a blank canvas. Depending of the image, I create an interaction between my main subject and his surrounding with acrylic, ink, spray paint and/or encaustic. 

I see all sorts of emotions in Marc's work, from frustration and anger to despair and heartbreak. In his early work he focused on re-imagining the life of a road-killed creature (or perhaps imagining the after life) inserting it back into an ethereal Eden-like garden. In his later works the corpses become more foreboding and begin to morph into human forms.

These re-skinned human figures reflect back to us the horrific and selfish ego created literally from the bodies of other animals. He depicts Western civilization's carnivorous consuming greed by creating "Windigo" figures from images of roadkill and placing them in apocalyptic landscapes. I will be interested to see how his work progresses.




Mitsuko Nagone Visits the Zoo

I was struck by the heart-breaking photographs of zoo animals taken by Mitusko Nagone. As a kid I loved going to the zoo. It was always so exciting to see animals up close and the petting zoo was even better because you could actually physically connect with an animal. There is something ignited inside a person when they make that connection to an animal, the physical contact, the body heat, breath, wet-nosed nuzzle or even a sharp kick or nip or scratch all leave something in us changed.

For me I am unsure about what exactly I felt besides excitement when at the zoo but I think there was always some sort of unease, an uncomfortable feeling lingering that suggested something just wasn't quite right. I think that is exactly the moment, that latent childhood image that Mitsuko has captured. These images evoke that same uneasy and feeling as if she has drawn out that single frozen moment from our childhood memories when we could not yet articulate what felt wrong.

I imagine that I saw these images or others like them hundreds of times when walking around a zoo: an animal looking out from behind bars, pacing in it's cage, isolated and surrounded by concrete instead of earth. only now having them frozen in time and re-presented to me can I see what sort of horrors truly exist for the prisoners of many of these facilities.

With so many repeated atrocities occurring against animals around the world I wonder if I will ever live to see their liberation. Will I ever see animals like chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, ravens, or any of the other thousands of sentient beings offered their sovereignty, dignity, and freedom to live by their own will released from the domain of humans. I guess when I look at any work about animals I wonder about that.

Mitsuko Nagone grew up in a small southern city in Japan. She moved to Tokyo and studied photography at the College of Tokyo Visual Arts and then moved to New York City to continue her studies at LaGuardia Community College. Currently, Mitsuko resides in Tokyo, Japan, and works as a freelance photographer. Visit her website to see more of her work.