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This is another piece in my recent “Pattern” series. By taking an animal and reducing it to a silhouetted, stamp-like form, and repeating that shape to create a background pattern, the animal subject is pitted against a mass-produced image of itself. In most cases, the effect is humorous, evoking the animal’s ubiquity, life cycle, or reproductive capacity. In all cases, this systematization of a natural shape highlights the significance of the animal in human life and culture.
In this case, the torpid, nearly shapeless mass of the slumbering pig (which I encountered years back at a petting zoo) suggests a mix of hedonistic ease and great fecundity. Of course, pot-bellied pigs are seldom raised for food as there are much more efficient meat producers available, but the repeated pig shapes none-the-less allude to mass production and the food industry. There is a definite pop-art vibe here, with the pigs standing in for Andy Warhol’s iconic soup cans.
Nature appears chaotic to us, but it is actually highly organized in its own way. It is our desire to control and conquer, arising from the innately human need for structure, that causes us to project our own artificial categories, our own systems of naming and organizing, onto the plants and animals around us. My patterns series seeks to explore this phenomenon in a fun and playful manner, re-contextualizing wildlife into a world of flat shapes, repeated imagery, brand logos, and ones and zeros, searching for old truths in a new world. As Gertrude Stein once wrote, “There is no such thing as repetition. Only insistence.”