Big Two-Hearted River, 2018
oil on aluminum
36 x 48 in.
Courtesy the artist and Nüart Gallery, Santa Fe.
This piece is from Santiago Perez's Climate Crisis—Species Extinction series. Each work has fantastical surrealist ideation with elements of Disneyfication animation and children's book illustration. Most pieces are mish-mashes from a variety of sources and also nod to many artists from history. Our ability to understand the extinction of many species has been developed largely through media, art, and literature. These understandings have evolved through the short time that media has existed, although there are many ancestral texts still extant, i.e. the Bible states, “The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand, they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” In another instance, the Bible says, “the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?"
In the United States, almost the entire population of American bison was destroyed, the carrier pigeon was not so lucky. Our increased awareness of species extinction has a history, along with belated efforts to save wildlife. The importance of every species is and human awareness is at a critical moment. Animal forms in art, through the associative principle, stand in for human desire and identification, because we, too, are animals. The manipulative and propagandistic properties of art are at play here.
Height: 36.00 in
Width: 48.00 in