By Andrew Denman
Wildlife art is in serious need of a therapist, or at least a conscientious and impartial friend who's willing to lend a sympathetic ear. Over a decade into the new millennium, wildlife art seems to be in the midst of an identity crisis. I see the evidence sprinkled throughout museum and gallery shows, hear it whispered at workshops and art receptions, and encounter the debate in social media forums. Certainly among my closest colleagues the question comes up with some regularity: just what is the future of wildlife art?
Wildlife Art Journal magazine has been one of the more lively participants in this discussion. Four recent articles here are cases in point, sculptor Simon Gudgeon's "A Meditation on Wildlife Art, ” Adrian Burton's "Is Wildlife Art In Need of (R)evolution?", painter Ron Kingswood's provocatively titled essay "Is Animal Painting Dead?, and Robert Bateman’s “State of Wildlife Art,” which in some measure was a response to Gudgeon and Kingswood.
They make the case that 21st century artists must abandon pure representation and go beyond the thing observed if animal art is to remain artistically relevant, while Bateman, always the statesman, claims that wildlife art is not a river flowing in any direction, but a “delta” in which no style is more dominant or more advanced than any other.
My contention is that there is always a direction in any and every discipline; as the pendulum of politics perennially swings from left to...
Additional Article Information:
· Article is 2,880 words long (250 are displayed in this preview).
Post Date:October 20th, 2011
'Andrew Denman offers a critical deconstruction of 'wildlife art' and challenges his contemporaries to stop being captive to the orthodoxy which limits what art inspired by nature can be. Denman, one of the bright young stars of contemporary animal painting, carries on the volley of provocative commentary lobbed earlier here by Simon Gudgeon, Ron Kingswood, Robert Bateman, Adrian Burton, and Tony Angell. It's the kind of discourse you won't find in any other art magazine.