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 Wagner - May 2016

I’ve been a working artist in Oregon for about 15 years.  Currently I live on a 50 acre farm called Roshambo ArtFarm in the Willamette Valley where we raise Jacob sheep, alpacas & chickens, plant apple trees, ferment cider & wine and hold an annual music festival, the Wildwood MusicFest.

My medium is ‘cut paper assemblage,’ which is cut paper, painted and layered, and then nailed to plywood panels with tiny nails.   The process has become an inherent part of the work with the nails being a prominent feature.   The combination of the delicate art of paper cutting with the industrial nature of hammering nails make for a unique and striking combination.

The sciences have been a huge influence on my art.  My favorite subjects are anatomy, botany, biology, entomology and zoology and the combination of them.  I’ve always loved science, but I think the reason I use it in my work is because the intricacy of the subject matter works well with my technique.  The cutting of muscles, roots and wings can get quite detailed with the results being complex and beautiful. A sense of humor has become a key factor in my work with clichés being a constant in my titles and imagery.

This latest body of work is influenced by the animals that we've raised on the farm and the cycles of farm life. The cycle of life and death is always close when living rural, waxing and waning as it inherently mimics the seasons. The ethical raising of animals for meat is something I think about often and can be quite difficult at times, but I value treating animals with kindness and respect and appreciate the life they give.

Kim Hamblin - May 2016