"Hearts, Hooves, and Horns”

The intention of this series is to explore our relationships with the animals we have chosen to make use of. I have approached this from several directions, the most straight forward approach is with the masked pieces in which the intention to empathize is presented. Taking on the persona of an animal, viewing the world through their eyes. The next way was to recontextualize a particular animal human relationship. In pursuing this, animals were put in irregular situations with themselves or a person. Spinning off of the odd situations concept I have also produced several pieces in the series that present humans in a supportive role in a literal sense. With all of these approaches I intentionally avoid providing conclusions to the questions that could arise instead allowing the viewer to generate their own outlooks.

Our choice to exploit animals has been an evolutionary one. Some of the most recent ideas around domestication is that it could have started almost unintentionally. Humans developed into the modern variety we are now alongside animals that existed close to us in an almost symbiotic relationship, domesticating both us and them. It can be said dogs used us as much as we used them. That goes for all the animals we have decided to live with, the wild varieties pale in numbers to their domesticated cousins. Even the sculpture of the Buffalo which would seem to be an outlier is actually referencing that almost all the “Buffalo” you see in your life whether on farms or in parks are actually hybrids with cattle. Most pure American bison exist only in small pockets of carefully maintained genetic purity in certain national parks.

Our partnerships with animals are complicated and I don’t want to tell people what to think about these relationships. I do want people to think however. In the face of a rapidly changing world we need to look at and evaluate how we interact with the animals we live with and how that relationship reflects on us as individuals and as a species.

Christopher B Wagner
May 2016