The Deer Kill series was exhibited at Satellite Project Space in downtown London Ontario from January 27-30, 2021. It was part of a final year student project at Fanshawe College, culminating in the exhibition PATCHWORK, featuring works by Clara Tuckey and Emily Singer. The artist statement and gallery photographs from this show are as follows.
My current work has a strong relationship to London and the surrounding area as I attempt to highlight the consequences of rapid urbanization on animals and other species in the Middlesex region. I have been looking at animals that are largely reduced to a symbol because of their adjacency to human settlement and life. The last work I created focuses on highways and roadways in the area, and the influence that they have on both whitetail deer and the human perception of the species. Deer are widely seen as pests, with a large population that infringes on urban areas, causes car accidents and leaves the highway littered with carcasses. Roadkill and deer crossing signs become the most prominent visual associations with the deer, completely changing their treatment as a species. In my work, I attempt to represent the animal with these visual associations in mind, while also attributing beauty and grace through my batik dyeing methods to force the viewer to reconsider their diminished perception of the animal.
As I continue to push these concepts in my work, I become more aware through research and observation that humans rely largely on animals to become characters in narratives (film, television, literature, religion, politics, etc.) that teach lessons about human relationships, interaction and society. In anthropomorphizing these creatures, we show respect as we honour the human-like qualities of each species, while also showing disrespect by diminishing their agency and authentic, natural state. I would like to continue to pursue this argument in my future work, centring on animals that exist in urban London as well as animals that commonly appear in popular culture.