Posts Tagged ‘Alexis Rockman’
the last known Thylacine which died in captivity in 1933 in a zoo in Hobart, Tasmania
It was largely silent, its vocalisations being limited to an occasional terrier-like bark when hunting and a series of husky barks when excited in captivity.
From a book on Australian marsupials
Thylacine by Alexis Rockman from the book Carnivorous Nights by Margaret Mittelbach and David Crewdson
A few years ago we began visiting a stuffed and mounted animal skin with something akin to amorous fervor. We didn’t tell our friends about this secret relationship. We feared they would think it was unhealthy to be infatuated with a dead animal.
The object of our obsession resided at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. Best known for its towering dinosaur skeletons and beautiful but creepy dioramas of gorillas and stuffed birds, the museum also housed a library where we did research. On the way there, we would walk through the perpetual twilight of the museum’s halls, passing meteorite fragments, African carvings, and a life-sized herd of motionless pachyderms.
When exactly we first saw this magnificent animal is lost in the recesses of memory, but we remember being instantly captivated by its exotic form. We marveled at its still limbs, at its head posed coyly downward, at its glorious Seussian stripes. It was a taxidermy of a Tasmanian tiger inside a rectangular glass case, and it was positioned in such a lifelike manner, its mouth curved in a friendly canine smile, that we found ourselves feeling affection for it as if it were a long-lost pet. It had 15 dark brown stripes across the back of its ginger-colored coat, which is why it was called a tiger, but the stripes were where that resemblance ended. Its body was shaped more like a wolf’s or wild dog’s.
Call it his Chinese restaurant conversion.Nearly two decades ago, as a 21-year-old art student in New York City, Alexis Rockman sat at a formica table, green tea in hand, staring at the eels in the restaurant’s fish tank. It was nearly midnight. He’d just completed a painting, one of those colorful, emotionally wrought abstracts popular in art circles. But instead of being filled with joy, he was depressed, a feeling he knew a thing or two about. A few years earlier, he’d suffered a nervous breakdown. “It was like being on an island gradually engulfed by water,” he recalls, as if mental collapse might result from global warming.
Then, in the eerie orange light of the restaurant, Rockman found an inner resolve. I hate abstract paintings, he finally admitted to himself. Why don’t I have the courage to paint animals?
Steve Fishman. Wired Magazine
Alexis Rockman: Having grown up in New York, I remeber being fascinated by cockroaches and rats; I was curious about the sheer quantity of these organisms and how they survived. It was amazing that they were capable of flourishing in seemingly impossible situations. It is interesing that these species are empowered by environmental situations created by man in urban and suburban models. We are their landscape. These symbolically marginalized species are considered ruthless and out of control. But this perception is really symptomatic of our inability to control nature. I admire their power and adaptability.