Watering Hole (Fall 2020)
24 x 30 in.
Throughout history, toys have reflected the values of a society. Animal-based toys have risen in popularity despite society’s negative environmental actions that disturb animal ecosystems and shrink animal biodiversity. The popularity of animal-based toys may be the nostalgia of a society longing for life before wilderness was less and less present in daily lives. Ironically, as humans yearn for nature, it is replaced artificially in homes. Fake plants in kitchens, giraffe patterned curtains in living rooms, safari animal decals in nurseries, stuffed animals in bedrooms, and televisions roaring with animal life documentaries all create a false representation of “wild.” Clearly, humans value nature and animals but have turned to consumerism to fill the void of true experience with wilderness.
In my work, animal toys are utilized as subject in paintings to consider the displacement of animals’ natural contexts, such as anatomy, context, habitat, behaviors, and agency. Paintings depict animal toys in domestic spaces among everyday objects that evoke nature themes, such as intricate wallpapers, textile patterns, and décor. These paintings invite viewers to question the desire for “nature” products despite a disconnection with true experiences of the wilderness.
© Anna Segner