Friday, February 22, 2013

Expanding My Crustaceans & Clocks Series to Incude Birds.

I recently added birds to my Crustaceans & Clocks series repertoire, see:
Some examples below:

Crab Confronts Pheasant Over Empty Container, 2013,
20"x15," Watercolor On Paper.
Copyrights reserved to Margaret Montgomery.

Pheasant Versus Crab With Garlic, 2013, 12"x16," Watercolor
On Paper.
Copyrights reserved to Margaret Montgomery.

Crab Versus Pheasant, Round I, 2013, 12"x 16," Watercolor
On Paper.
Copyrights reserved to Margaret Montgomery.

My primary objective is to create a dynamic composition that is visually arresting; however, the addition of narrative elements can make for a more interesting multilayered work of art.  It is toward that end that I have chosen my subject matter for this series.  Why "Crustaceans & clocks," in the first place, you might ask?  Well, in part, because by depicting crustaceans with a symbol of recordable time, I hope to make the viewer consider how briefly we humans have been on this planet.  By comparison, crustaceans date way back, all the way back to the Cambrian period (about 500 million years ago) to be precise.  Crabs date to the Jurassic period (200-145 million years ago); and, lobsters to the Cretaceous Period (145-66 million years ago).  In contrast, we humans are but a blip on the geological time scale!  Additionally, the aquatic theme is meant to imply the phenomena of rising sea levels----due to human activity!

We people could, perhaps, find ourselves going the way of the dinosaurs in the not too distant future.  But, crustaceans might conceivably flourish in a more watery world:  They are now as common in the oceans as insects are on land, many of them are just as hardy too!  Birds also date back zillions of years----like lobsters----back to the Cretaceous period.  Their existence also dwarfs that of man!  But, unlike crustaceans, many bird species currently face extinction due to deforestation and other human activity----making their continuum on the geological time scale somewhat precarious.

I have chosen to depict my crustaceans and birds locked in a primal fight for survival!  (The outcome is not assured, but perhaps the crustaceans' pincers suggest a bias.)  This is meant to be an allegory for the coming struggle different peoples will almost surely find themselves locked in as vital resources----such as potable water and arable land----begin to disappear.  And, the fight will be weighted in favor of those with the most arms.

I realize the above might strike some people as unnecessarily gimmicky; but since it is impossible to altogether avoid the possibility of a narrative interpretation when art is representational, an artist should pick their subject matter with that in mind:  Even things as commonplace and innocuous as fruit or trees come laden with cultural significance.  And, an artist should want to control the narrative!

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