Laurie Hogin, ‘Burn-Out Cranes I, Embers’, 2016, Koplin Del Rio

I often use the crane as an allegorical creature because of their frenzied dancing, which is usually deployed during mating or dominance displays. Like much animal behavior, it seems to me to have parallels in human behavior. I also use the representation of frenzied animals to represent the point at which a creature's (or a human's) brain begins to be governed by pure impulse, almost unto convulsion, sometimes due to intoxication, sometimes due to emotion. This narrative shows up in cultural history as "the Dionysian" and finds expression in phenomena from drunkenness to mass celebration to mob mentality. These cranes are frenzied as the landscape around them is destroyed; the text describes the processional states of being and matter that often result from frenzies. A personal aspect of these little wash drawings is that the Letraset (vinyl transfer lettering used before the advent of modern, computer-assisted graphics) came from a box of folders I found in a filing cabinet I inherited from my father. The folders contain thousands and thousands of Letraset sheets. He was a brilliant and creative engineer, but definitely had hoarding tendencies, leading him to accumulate vast quantities and almost insane multiples of anything he could ever possibly need--a frenzy of collecting that left me with piles of materials and tools from his prototype development shop. I suppose these cranes are also phoenix-like, and are rising from their desolate landscapes.

About Laurie Hogin

Laurie Hogin’s large-scale allegorical oil paintings of a mutated natural world raise issues of consumerism, sexism, and environmental degradation. Rendered in a hyper-realistic style reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch masters, neon-colored animals populate overgrown landscapes, or pose as the subject of a portrait, for instance holding a bubble-wand (The Bubble, 2008). In her well-known painting Allegory of the Free Market (1997), deer-like creatures sporting tiger stripes and leopard spots—one with a banner reading “laissez-faire” tied to its oversized antlers—frantically race down a hillside beneath an ominously smoky sky. “These creatures in the painting have become rampant because of free market policies,” she explains. “Unregulated use of land has resulted in the destruction of predator habitat. One species becomes unbalanced, in a sense, and overruns everything.”

American, b. 1963