Kira Slentz

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In my work, animals serve as a once-removed context for fundamentally human ideas about existence. By employing a kind of personification in my images of animals, I can cut directly to emotion or ideas without the interference of the human presence, thus omitting any assumptions one might make through a social lens. The animals aren’t symbols so much as actors and characters. They do not carry meaning, but convey it through their poses, actions, and interactions with other creatures. Sometimes they even become tangled or paradoxical. Often, the organisms in my work pull at each other in some way, or unravel and weave together. In this way, I pose questions about existence, considering where one living thing ends and another begins. I explore these relationships, or transformations, in order to seek out answers about my own existence.

While working, I find myself most frequently turning to instances throughout history in which people have tried to make sense of the natural world. Medieval bestiaries, natural histories, and scientific illustration are all traditions I draw from. I layer images in my work to compile data or information I have gathered, and as a means to reflect the way organisms exist in the world.




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