Faced with a constant barrage of negative news decrying the death of the corals, the extinction of wildlife and the loss of pristine rainforests to yet another cattle ranch, it can be excruciatingly difficult to keep faith that we humans might collectively shift our awareness quickly enough to save the planet -- and ourselves.
While rational facts and statistics about the plight of the planet may quickly move some to action, oftentimes it takes the subconscious language of art to change the deeply rooted, collective stories we tell ourselves about our unbalanced relationship to nature. Houston, Texas based artist Kevin Petersen's ultra-realistic paintings evoke a narrative of strength, arising out of an alliance with nature, and the survival of innocence in a harsh and damaged world. Depicting scenes of children wandering around crumbling cities with animal companions, there is something wild, powerful and even hopeful about these images.
My work is about the varied journeys we take through life. It’s about growing up and living in a world that is broken. These paintings are about trauma, fear and loneliness and the strength that it takes to survive and thrive. They each contain the contrast of the untainted, young and innocent against a backdrop of a worn, ragged, and defiled world. [..] My work deals with isolation, loneliness and longing teamed with a level of optimistic hope, [the] idea of rigid boundaries, the hopeful breakdown of such restrictions, as well as questions about the forces that orchestrate our behavior.
There is a strange and subtle beauty in the confident way the children are joining forces with their furry allies (perhaps a touch of Mononoke), but it seems to suggest that our basic connection to nature will always be there at the source of our innocence, regardless of how far off the rails we might go.
The animals in some paintings appear to be like protective spirits hovering over their human charges, giving them an animistic flavour.
The fantastical symbolism, contrasted against the backdrop of a gritty world in complete disarray, imbue these compelling paintings with a sense of power -- not of the brute force kind, but of the kind that comes from within, and one that is in alliance with nature, rather than fighting against it. Perhaps that's the hopeful narrative that we as a species need to resurrect. More over at Thinkspace Gallery and Kevin Petersen.
[Via: Faith is Torment]