Tiny Totem #3 – Easter Bunnies
This is the third painting in my ongoing “Tiny Totem” series. These pieces are small, reductive versions of my larger “Totem” series, intended to explore similar concepts distilled into the barest essentials. Modern reinterpretations of the Native American Totem Poles of the Pacific Northwest, these pieces offer impossible arrangements of common animals and birds. Isolated from their natural environments and portrayed in a whimsical, tension-filled, and surreal context, the viewer is challenged to reconsider the subjects in a new light. Native Americans traditionally used animals as potent symbols for their own human talents, frailties, fears, and desires, and despite the distance we have placed between ourselves and the natural world today, animals still play just as significant a role in our daily lives, from logos to add campaigns. These pieces ask the viewer to explore what wildlife means in today’s world, to consider the fragile balance we strike in our own lives between man and beast, and to ponder the plight of a natural world teetering on collapse.
Here the pastel colored bunnies and eggs immediately evoke Easter. Though the egg and rabbit both sink their symbolic roots in pagan fertility traditions, it is easy to see how they translated so easily into the Christian religion. Rabbits with their extremely high rates of reproductivity, and chickens with their miraculous emergence from eggs are both suggestive of reincarnation.