Karen Bondarchuk

Unnatural Selection
charcoal, ink, lettering on paper
30 x 22 in.

My work has had common thematic elements of animals and language in recent years, examining linguistic and physiological connections between animals and humans. Language also plays a central role in the human-animal divide, often serving as the singular distinguishing trait that elevates us above them. While scientific perspective on the nature and magnitude of animal consciousness is in flux, the most recent research suggests that animals are capable of higher-order reasoning than previously understood or imagined. ‘Walking the Walk’ denotes the human intervention and near destruction of the American bison. ‘Unnatural Selection’ depicts an owl that is imprinted to humans, and the identity confusion that imprinting entails. I am increasingly aware of the intricacy of human and animal relations, particularly the extent to which humans have come to dictate the terms of co-existence at the boundary between species. This has left me with a keen sense of the artificial constraints under which these creatures exist, often at the periphery of our world.