Tipton Gallery (ETSU) / 126 Spring St. , Johnson City, TN February 26 - March 8th

Ben Conley

The concept of “artist as animal” may take on many forms: the animal viewed as a maker, the artist inhabiting the animal space, dwelling, or perspective, or the viewer inhabiting these same sites. Within this context, the role of the animal is expanded; hierarchies shift and blur. At a base level, my personalized embodied experience with the natural world shapes how I view myself within the context of these creatures. Each work forces the viewer and me into a state of becoming. Specifically, we are confronted with our own physical existence in a shared natural world with beings that are not considered human, but still possess qualities that we find within ourselves.

The process of “becoming” implies a state of being and a passage of change. Oftentimes, this passage manifests as a turbulent and chaotic path. However, within the turbulence of this process, a greater understanding of our state of being is revealed. Thus, the expected state of being is the human and animal in their traditional domains and residing in their typical locations. When the artist or animal becomes the other, their state of being becomes something entirely new. They exist within a state where hierarchies no longer take precedence, but the perspective of each creature, both human and animal, is abundantly considered