Artist Sarah Ronald shows new drawings, paintings, and installations which spur viewers to tune in and seek out the contradictions present in our daily lives, specifically around our relationships with wild animals in both suburban and natural environments.
“I began this body of work as a way to examine the varied nature in which we as a western society regard wild animals, as opposed to our more familiar domestic animals,” the artist says. In the course of her artistic exploration, Ronald found that, as cultural subject matter, the animal can be considered in many ways – from a commodity to a divine spirit to a beloved family member.
Individual works explore how we impact wild animals in suburban areas, our relationships with household pets, and wildlife management. Her Double Bagged series (above) in pen and acrylic paint on paper, depict bears both alongside and within the garbage bags that tempt them into our backyards, associating our own careless disposal with the potentially life-threatening consequences to wildlife.
After learning that wolves mate for life, the artist looked at B.C.’s controversial wolf culls with new empathy, recognizing the significance of the loss of a partner. In the resulting piece Being, Unpacked, Ronald depicts a life-sized wolf in acrylic paint and uses elements of abstraction to portray confusion and the exposure of the “widowed” wolf, with a ghost-like image of its missing mate at its side.
For Ronald, the way that we regard wild animals has a strong correlation to how we as a society behave towards the unfamiliar; in this sense the exhibition is also an exploration into human nature. She hopes that viewers will consider their own thinking about animals: “If indeed our current cultural climate is to live lives in a morally progressive manner, I believe that we need to step back and spy on ourselves to see the contradictions around the topic of ‘the animal’ more clearly.”
For more information please visit www.seymourartgallery.com
Artist Talk/Tour: Sunday February 19, 2 p.m