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  History and Prophecy: a bestiary for the 21st century
2005

With their outlandish imagery of Christian moralizing scenes and of the apocalypse, Northern Renaissance painters, especially Hieronymous Bosch, have influenced my work. In particular, Bosch’s absurd hell scenes that incorporate images of modified earthly animals as tormenting demons have intrigued me. I use imagery with a similar essence of scare-tactic moralizing, but my focus in these particular works is on human/environmental relationships rather than on the soul/heaven/hell relationship.

The precarious predicaments humans find themselves in stemming from their one-sided relationships with animals and the environment and the futility of humans’ desire to control nature is the basis of this work. The natural, biological world develops counter-adaptive measures against humans’ overpopulation and hegemonic colonization of the natural world. I investigate these counter-adaptive measures by personifying avian influenza and modifying each respective carrier/host specimen, morphing it into a militaristic machine of death.

I am focusing on the influenza A virus in this body of work. Bird populations naturally host the influenza A virus in both its dormant and active states. Since this is a virus that can antigenically shift and jump from birds to humans and has pandemic potential, it fits well with the absurd and pessimistic themes of my work.