Dyeing Animals

Dillon LaCombe
Oct 1, 2014 4:37AM

Despite the fact that humans distance themselves from nature, we are forever a part of it. With this exhibition we want to pose a question: How do humans react to the colors of nature, and what effect does the distortion of natural forms have? Each animal has a unique color for their own purpose, whether it be a warning, an invitation, or a defense mechanism. To play with this, we want the viewer to walk into a strange, playful environment. Each piece will provide the viewer a distorted form or color experience and create a unique mood different from many traditional exhibits. We want viewers to question their relationship with the environment, in the end questioning their own nature - human nature - to escape the wilderness rather than commune with it.

    Susan Goldsmith’s Eyes Only For You is a wonderful example of a depiction of naturally-occurring color. The peacock is one of the most famously colorful animals - its body a deep blue and its tail an amalgam of cool blues, greens, and purples. Kim Wiggins’ In the High Country is another fine example - it captures the reds and yellows in the bear’s fur while also emphasizing the color of its surroundings. Shawn Smith’s Jewel Beetle rounds out the triad of naturally-occurring color pieces.

To stray away from realistic depictions of color, many pieces in our exhibition alter the hues entirely. Color is psychologically linked to emotion, so often each color is chosen to elicit a specific emotion. Part of the inspiration for this part of our exhibit is The Large Blue Horses by Franz Marc, a key artist in the German Expressionist movement. Marc’s piece depicts blue horses mixed with colorful swirls. Marc attributed blue to spirituality, intending to depict a battle of spirituality versus materialism. Other examples of emotion-based color decisions include The Hare by Lindsay Pichaske, Untitled-Balancing Elephant by Karel Appel, Melodic Bird by Jose Pena, Piscis by Rupert Newman, AKI-CHAN by Yayoi Kusama, Chemical Love Birds: Schizoanalysis and Psychotopia by Laurie Hogan, Aghasur by Amit Ambalal, and finally Fish Park/ROCI JAPAN by Robert Rauschenberg. All of these use distorted forms and colors to evoke emotion.

Our final two pieces, Rapture and Untitled by Kiki Smith, are sculptures that show two sides of the human relationship with nature, and unlike the colorful pieces of our collection, these are stark white and black. They will be the centerpieces of the exhibit and given their own space to clearly present the audience with our theme. Smith’s sculptures will easily be the focal points because of color contrast, and the psychological interest of the realistic nude human forms.

By taking the colors and forms of nature and distorting them, these artists we selected have created a way for us to pose a unique question in the form of an exhibit. We hope to create a playful environment for the viewer to answer these questions themselves and ask themselves what their relationship is with nature.

Dillon LaCombe