Primates

(click on thumbnails for enlargements & slide show)

Recently I have been fascinated with apes and monkeys as subjects. In trying to decipher human behavior it may prove helpful to observe chimpanzees who have the intelligence of a three year old and 98% of our DNA. Recent Harvard studies have shown that the pre-frontal cortex isn’t fully developed until age 23. Hence, one could assume that 3 yr. olds represent the primitive part of our being as do the chimpanzees but with a glimpse of noble altruism. They appear in my work as stand-ins for humans. They are experiencing the dramas of environmental damage to their habitat, but, unlike humans, are the victims rather than the perpetrators. The chimpanzee and the monkey have always been seen in a humorous or derisive way, yet, in these paintings I have tried to paint them with a sense of gravitas. They are viewed as similar to us but without the veneer of culture and civility and can therefore become allegories for fundamental human instincts and aspirations. They are actors in the theater of dreams and unknown history.