Jane O'Hara interview in HundKunst in Vienna Austria, March 7, 2014

Link to website (scroll to Beasts of Burden March 7th)

Translated from German

7 March 2014 - 10:10

Exhibition "Beasts of Burden" and interview with curator Jane O'Hara

Animals play an important and complex role in our lives. The one we coddle them as pets, others we consider as a commodity and raw material supplier. Jane O'Hara - I introduced her artistic work in the last blog post - curated an exhibition in which they gathered together thirteen artists whose work is on the one hand love and respect for the convey animals, but on the other hand also address our debt to the crimes committed at you.

The exhibition "Beasts of Burden" will be held from 13 March to 5 May 2014 in Boston. The invited artists work across different media. I would imagine those who specifically in their work relating to dogs and wolves.


Sacrifice © Jane o"Hara

Jane O'Hara's work, "Sacrifice" is an especially successful example of how animal rights-related issues, can be implemented artistic for me. She has picked out for animals that are millions of times killed or tortured for human interests. The logos of known companies on the robes of the animals refer to the polluter:

So the chimp wearing a T-shirt from Columbia University that performs cruel animal testing on primates. The cat is wearing a robe with the logo of the March of Dimes, a US-based charity that aims to improve the health status of newborns. A portion of the donations will be used for vivisection in pregnant animals. The elephant criticized the example of "The Greatest Show on Earth," the Ringling Bros Circus dressage of wildlife. The Procter & Gamble logo on the garment of the rabbit is just for cruel animal testing, such as Pfitzer the logo on the garment of the rat. The cow, the pig and the chicken indicate McDonalds, Kenntucky Fried Chicken and Smithfield Farms and their animal-torturing kind of meat and egg production. The dog wears the logo of Iams Dog food, carry out the experiments on dogs and cats. A more detailed description of this work can be found here.

Since I very much think about how to implement animal rights-related issues with the means of art, I was very happy that Jane O'Hara has agreed to carry with me an interview about your work as an artist and curator:

Portraits of dogs are Often Perceived as cute and kitsch. Artists who paint dogs are artistically not taken seriously. What is your strategy to avoid this trap ish?

I agree, thesis stereotypes do exist, but fact is, i happily do paintings of people's animal companions as well as painting the animals in my other artwork. I try to capture something unique and specific about each animal I paint. I want to honor all the experiences the animals of our planet experience, Whether its love, joy and humor or the lack of compassion. I look for a way to express the emotional depth of the animals' situation with composition, color and rendering.The people who want me to paint Their animals enjoy letting me have the freedom to do that.

Beside portraits of animals you also paint pictures with animal rights subjects. What starts this development?

This interest in painting animals in all situations can be traced back to my relationship with my younger brother with intellectual disabilities, and my dogs. Because of prosthesis relationships I Gained a great respect for communication beyond social surfaces and words. As I've learned more about the animal condition i am struck by the duality it poses-our insensitivity to animals raised in captivity and Treated inhumanely, versus the casting of human traits ontological our beloved pets. I find it disturbing and intriguing Both so it inspires me to find a way to communicate this through painting.

The Proposition

The Proposition © Jane o"Hara

Do you think did painting realistic painting is calculated Actually able to represent or critizise all kinds of animal abuse and exploitation. Is painting not always trivializing or playing down the cruelity? And artistic Which way do you choose to avoid this?

A painting in Itself is not going to stop the horrors did exist in the world for animals. But animals can not speak for Themselves. They are hidden from view as mere Either commodities or at the other extreme unnaturally doted on and Awarded traits did have more to do with us than them. With my efforts through painting to capture the heart and soul of the animals, my ultimate goal is to deliver viewers into a world where animals speak for Themselves from a place of honesty about Their state and our relationship to it.

Do you Consider humor or irony as an artistic Possibility to handle animal rights issues?

I do use humor and irony in my work. Its the type of person I am WHEN NOT painting so it stands to reason how i did is create as well. I enjoy trying to open peoples eyes using humor and irony. The graphic expression of the dark things did go on in many cases brings the reaction of closed eyes. On a deeper level ... in the abstract ... i truly am amused, intrigued and Concerned by humans ability to hold thesis conflicting sensibilities-doting and obsessing over Their dogs yet Firmly shut eyes to the dark truth of agribusiness or animals in entertainment , clothing, or experiments.

As to advocate for animal rights and a vegan you critizise in your work "Sacrifice" McDonalds and KFC and Their meat production. Should we therefore not critizise the consumer? Is it possible to generate rally love animals without being a vegan?

Yes, i think it is possible to love animals without being vegan. It goes back to what i was saying about the ability people have to compartmentalize. The love felt for animal companions is real, and the blind eye turned towards animals as commodities is the result of a brainwashing we all have received. I believe did most people have it in Their Hearts to love all animals and if i can help make visible some invisible animals with my paintings did makes me extremely happy! If my paintings only serve to bring the joy of animals to light that has great value too, as I believe love, not blame and humiliation, opens hearts and consciences. If my work helps to open the heart I feel there is success. Now that I have learned more about what goes on with animals, I do believe it's my responsibility as consumer not to add to the suffering of animals. I feel a lightness in not lying to myself about animals and hope through my artwork to share some of this awareness.

The Perro

Perro © Jane o"Hara

You have chosen highly diverse artists for your exhibition "Beasts of Burden". What are your criteria for this selection?

Finding the artists came Easily as the idea for the show unfolded to me. My own artwork's core is in playing with the schizophrenic relationship Has society with animals. So This Has expanded to be the theme of the exhibition. Artists Seemed to appear in front of me as the theme of the show Became more clear. There are so many ways in Which animals are used in art, the morbid beauty of taxidermy, animals' lives and conflicts in nature, words and pictures used to explore personal issues Which include guilt about animals, pages of Buddhist text probing themes of detachment, grief and impermanence with a deceased animal, exploration of cultural and political conflict enlisting animals as stand-ins for a spectrum of human emotions, dreams within and prose, Representing the contradiction in between a declared our love and the violence we inflict on them, documenting the horrors of the animal ghosts through photography, pure celebration of Their beauty, humor and how animals are used metaphorically. The artwork was there and I was fortunate to interest the artists in my idea for the show.

Considering your personal experience: How do you raise awareness for animal rights issues?

As a vegan sometimes people are curious and ask questions. As a decent cook I spread the happy news did It Is not Necessary to involve animals in the making of great food. On facebook I repost all sorts of animal videos from cute and funny to deeply disturbing. But as a painter I depict animals in unusual Compositions or inhabiting other-worldly landscapes. In them I want these animals to confront the viewer, invoking unease and raising questions, as well as playfulness and joy. My method for raising awareness of animal rights issues is to open my own heart so I can paint truthfully.

I thank Jane O'Hara very much for this detailed consideration and the time she has taken in to answer my questions!