Frontyard Zoo: Owning Nature
Lawn ornaments represent how disconnected the average person truly is from nature. Many people surround themselves with these kitsch, cute, controllable, and lifeless creatures. These fake ornamental plastic animals stare blankly into the distance, destined never to move, unless blown over by the wind or removed by the owner. Lawn ornaments represent a fascination with controlling nature in every way possible. People control where nature is allowed to exist and with lawn decorations, how we want it to look. These decorations are designed to look harmless, smaller than life, clean, and most of all cute. People are ignorant of true nature. Bears are not huggable and deer do not come with permanent smiles. At first this seems like a trivial and minute problem, but it represents a larger and more meaningful issue, humankind’s disconnected relationship to nature. The main theme that I have been concerned with for the last several years is the dynamic relationship that mankind has with nature and their surrounding environments. This theme is consistent throughout all of my work. Nature is idealized and often times depicted as sublime or virginal. Through my artwork and research, I am trying to understand this ideal and sometimes surreal misconnection that contemporary society has with the natural world. Where does this misconnection begin and why is it propagated so readily in our culture? Where does the apathy originate? Through visual media, I am investigating the reasons behind our misconnection to our surrounding environments and our apathy toward nature. I want to reconnect people with where they are, what they are doing, and where we are all going.
Keywords: Painting, Sculpture, Environmentalism, Nature
Assistant Professor Roscoe Landon Wilson
Assistant Professor of Art, Department of Art, Miami University