Holocene Extinction Series (2011 – present)

This series explores the idea of the ongoing extinction of animal species in the age of humans. Animals have always fascinated me, particularly extinct animals. Visiting La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, CA as a child, seeing massive skeletons of Mastodons and Sabre Tooth Tigers completely blew my mind. This fascination was rekindled when I was living in Florence and visited the natural history museum there. It was a completely creepy cabinet of curiosities filled with glass-eyed, taxidermied animals frozen in time since the 1800s. One of the taxidermied animals I encountered was the extinct Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger). The Tasmanian Tiger was neither a tiger nor a wolf but a predatory marsupial from Australia, New Guinea and of course Tasmania. Reading into the history of species such as the Thylacine, I found that humans largely caused the extinction of this magnificent species. As this species was so unusual, there became a huge demand from museums and other collectors, and therefore bounties for the Thylacine became irresistible to hunters. This sent me into a spiral. How could museums, institutions of preservation, want to destroy such natural beauty? But this trend of humans wiping out entire species is not a new phenomenon; indeed, since the dawn of our history of spreading out through the continents is correlated with mass extinction of megafauna as well as other species.  Therefore, my painting series became centered around animals that have gone extinct due to human causes. But, it felt to me that these animals should have a second chance at life: to scream silently that those that have created their destruction, and thus I made them into reanimated corpses as a reminder of the transgressions of human against the natural world. Included as a stand in for humanity is a mummified self portrait of myself as a warning to humanity that if we continue on our path of bad stewardship of the earth and all of its inhabitants that we will suffer the same fate which we wrought upon those extinct species.