"The contemporary human condition is one of contradiction. Though we are still “hard-wired’ animals, we are exceptional creatures. My work springs from this ambiguity, the yearning chasm between what humans are and what we want to be."
My artwork is principally concerned with contemporary man's mutable conception of nature and our place in it.
Growing up on the rural Delmarva Peninsula, I became acquainted with the local flora and fauna at a young age. Whether working at field chores, hunting, fishing, or simply playing, my outdoors experiences were akin to the Wonderland exploits of Lewis Carroll's Alice. Carroll's premise, that "things get curiouser and curiouser," guided me through many a childhood adventure. I anthropomorphized animals and cast them as key players in an epic production of which I, too, was a part. For me, as for Alice, the natural world was enchanted and ethical in an unsentimental way.
As I matured, however, my childhood love of nature evolved into a fascination with biology and ethology, a process akin to the broad philosophical and intellectual developments impelled by the European Enlightenment. In the 16th century, educated Europeans began to distinguish between fantasy and fact, between myth and history. They gradually abandoned enchantment and magic in favor of analysis and rigorous experimentation, hallmarks of the scientific method.
Yet this divide between imagination and reason diminishes our comprehension of the world. The English poet and critic John Ruskin alluded to this deficit when he wrote of "the broken harmonies of fact and fancy, thought and feeling, and truth and faith." A complete appreciation of nature requires us to interweave cognition with imagination. My pictures are the observations of a naturalist working at the intersection of fable and fact.
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