This is not about your first impression. This is not about western art or plains art or even buffalo (although I’ve just recently learned that the proper term is bison).
This is about an intuitive painter who has been struggling with the weight of the world, her close knit world, the world at large and everything in between. And when seeking direction, all this artist heard was “buffalo”.
At first she balked, denied that this had anything to do with the “real” struggle. But this message wouldn’t go away and, because of this, she did a little research. That’s what artists do. They follow their nudges.
Bison are survivors of extreme conditions: very hot, dry summers and very long, cold winters. Bison are anatomically built so they are able to plow through the heavy snow to find their nutrients. A bison's primary predator is the wolf. The only time a wolf has any success in maiming or killing a bison is from behind. Because of this, bison can have stand offs with wolves for days at a time.
I cannot help but notice parallels with what has been brought to a head in our country: Those survivors of extreme conditions. Those forced to have stare downs with "authority" for the length of their lives (can you imagine the effect this has on one's physical, emotional and spiritual immune system?), unable to turn their backs because it's been proven time and time again to NOT BE SAFE. This isn’t a pretty world and I definitely don’t consider bison to be a pretty subject.
These paintings do not represent what you think they do. But then to think that “the buffalo” were needlessly slaughtered, brought to the brink of extinction, having been victims of our false sense of superiority, entitlement, sheer ego, and obsessive need to control. Well, there’s that too…
These are my paintings and I am the artist and this body of work is titled, Gentle Giants of this Wild World.