BRETT COLLEY - Artist/Curator/Educator
Javan Rhino, preparatory drawing
2012
Ink on paper
11 x 8.5 inches
Each of the magnificent creatures depicted in this work is struggling to resist the inexorable decline of its species. Their prospective extinctions are predicated on a wide array of circumstances, but all are anthrogenic in nature. In other words, humankind is responsible.

I hoped to explore the precarious state of these animals through the metaphor of the form (drawing) and presentation itself. Each of my subjects is isolated, removed from any environmental context, natural or otherwise, floating disembodied in a void of negative space. The drawings themselves hover tenuously, inches from the wall, unprotected by wood or glass, suspended by just two small magnets.

Ordinarily I work with printmaking processes, but drawings – due to their singularity as objects - assume an authoritative and distinct quality. This aura of originality seemed appropriate, suggesting the exceptional nature of my exquisite subjects. If lost to us, they can never be recreated.

Working with a large brush and thin ink washes, I formed faint clouds on my paper from which the portraits would coalesce. Though the ink is permanent, securing each animal to the future through the drawing itself, the imagery wavers between resolution and dissolution. These creatures are emerging – moving to the forefront of my/our consciousness, even as they disappear from Earth.

I have rendered these portraits as a means of honoring each subject for the integral role it plays in our global ecosystem, contemplating my own role in their probable demise, and apologizing profusely…not only to the animals, but to a future which would be considerably less rich, less vital without them.