The Behavioural Enrichment series acts as a response to the experience of the curious worlds presented at the zoo and in interior design images. Most often zoo exhibits are created for entertainment value, and are frequently framed like theatrical sets constructed with their potential affect in mind. This presentation is reminiscent of the staged organization of idealized human dwellings, commonly understood through the glamourized practice of interior design photography. The paintings combine references to zoo exhibits and mid-century modern interior design photographs to emphasize the dramatically staged artifice of both environments. As a result, the manipulated compositions found in the paintings all include theatrical elements: props, lighting, backdrop, performer and an audience.
The furnishings of the painted interiors include objects that reference directly or indirectly behavioural enrichment devices used in zoo exhibits. The term behavioural enrichment, also known as environmental or animal enrichment, is an animal husbandry principle that is designed to benefit captive animals lives by providing different stimuli. To further put into question human intent and the purpose of the object, the room, the animal; the enrichment devices have been placed with the wrong species and camouflaged within the room.
These strange worlds of artifice are constructed with images in images: odd compositions and disintegrating spaces that balance between an illusion of depth and an abstract flatness. The paintings create a complex environment that draws the viewer in with its spectacle of colour and decoration, and then alerts them of something amiss through a signifier; the miniature zoo animal. The animals are presented as domesticated, motionless and foreign in these theatrical rooms that gives a combined impression of displacement and dislocation. The environments in turn create a new and unsettling space for the imagination to contemplate the artificiality of zoos and our homes and question the way we present our selves and wild animals.
born: 1976, Canada
University of Waterloo, MFA, 2010
Ontario College of Art and Design, Painting, 2001
Oxbow Scholarship, Oxbow School of Art and Artists' Residency, 2011
Artist Grant, Vermont Studio Center, 2010
Sylvia Knight Award for Graduate Studio Excellence, Waterloo University, 2010
Shantz Internship with MIchael Borremans, Waterloo University, 2009
Beautiful/Decay, U.S.A., http://beautifuldecay.com, 2011
Ruby Magazine, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Issue #48, 2010
"At the Galleries‰, Peter Goddard, Toronto Star, E12, 2007
selected solo or two-person exhibits
Skew Gallery: Behavioural Enrichment, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2011
Paul Petro Special Projects Space: Thesis Exhibit, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2010
Chapel Gallery: Fragmented Body, Bracebridge, ON, Canada, 2007
Paul Petro Special Projects Space: Chenille Aquaticus, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2007
selected group shows
Kent Public School Yard, Responding Festival, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2011
Art Mur Gallery: Fresh Paint, New Construction, Montreal, QC, Canada, 2010
Paul Petro Gallery: Making Scenes, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2010
University of Waterloo Gallery: New Graduate Work, Waterloo, ON, Canada, 2009