In Animus Botanica, three young artists explore themes of nature, narrative, and fantasy. On view September 4 through October 4, 2008, the work of Boyce Cummings, Christopher Reiger, and Amy Ross encompasses painting, drawing, and collage. The subject matter centers on flora, fauna, and the human form, as well as hybrid creatures, all of which are enthralling, and sometimes downright ominous. A fox emerges from the soft pink petals of a magnolia blossom, a Rubenesque female figure sports a bear’s head, a possum bears his teeth against an onslaught of bats, a lifeless bird hangs from string amongst a botanical rendering.
According to painter Boyce Cummings, nature occupies a large part of his inner life, and he casts people as animals in his works in oil, acrylic, and mixed media. Birds preside over seemingly abandoned architectural structures in barren landscapes, an abstract curvilinear design decorated with stars become the bird’s lonely song. A regal polar bear silently crosses a white abyss, while an underpainting reveals numerous caricature portraits, recalling the disturbing drawings created to illustrate phrenology, or the study of the shape of the human head as it was thought to relate to intelligence.
Christopher Reiger’s complex multi-media paintings on paper vibrate with saturated color and dense compositions of fauna, which the artist refers to as “hallucinatory landscapes.” Often populated by menacing crows and other intimidating animals, Reiger suggests that nature is by no means idyllic, and compares its extremism to the contemporary cultural and political climate. His smaller works on paper allude to man’s mutable conception of nature, while at the same time referencing archaic scientific experiments involving humans, animals, and plants.
Amy Ross’ watercolors and collages portray delicate, elegantly rendered botanicals morphed with animal and human forms. Ross notes these images subvert the traditional genre of botanical illustration by viewing the natural world through the lens of genetic engineering and mutation gone awry. Woodpeckers with mushroom caps for heads adorn fragile white birch branches; another mushroom sprouts into a headless writhing serpent. While these creatures are charming, Ross alludes to the dangers of meddling with nature.
Cummings, Reiger, and Ross all have extensive exhibition histories. Please see the artists individual pages for resume history. For more information, or high resolution images, please contact the gallery at our contact page.