The topic I would like to discuss for this week’s blog is the way in which we view things as natural. Most humans feel like they have some sort of underlying connection to nature but yet disregard certain aspects of it. We are very selective in our enjoyment of the natural world. Creatures that are the unlike humans and unfamiliar to us become a second rate priority. Some say that they absolutely are connected to nature but in the end they could not survive in it without certain amenities that we take for granted. The way humans view nature is completely skewed. Nature is raw and unforgiving, not a magical place of wonder and amusement. Most specifically I would like to analyze the work of Alexis Rockman. His art explores the unwanted side of nature and the implications of our societal constructions.
I believe that our selective love for nature begins with a connection to things that are most similar to our learned, ingrained perspective. As we grow into this world we are shaped by the people, environment, and opinions around us. Therefore most of us have a concrete view on what is beautiful and pleasurable. We enjoy things that we can relate to and disregard things that we do not quite understand or control. The rat and a cockroach is a perfect example in the way we have put an irreversible opinion on specific creatures. We have grown up with the opinion that these creatures are dirty, detestable, and downright gross. I ponder the question, is this view inherent in the human brain or is it just a societal opinion that we have grown up to believe? These creatures also represent a side of nature that we cannot control. No matter how we construct our society these organisms persist. Because we cannot control this aspect, we relate these animals to pests and not the amazing ability of certain aspects of nature to adapt. The idea that these types of creatures have been able to adjust to the degrading natural environment is beautiful in itself. Humans only see in these types of creatures, the differences between us and the uncontrollable nature of their presence.
The work of Alexis Rockman illustrates the unwanted side of nature. He illustrates the underbelly of our natural world, focusing on the unwanted. Some of his paintings include animals with genetic mutations. He also creates his own species of animals that consists of garbage and sewage. Like a rat, these created species adapt to the world that humans have created. Beauty can be found in the way that nature, in certain aspects, is persistent. His paintings represent the limits in the way the human mind perceives good and bad, beautiful and ugly.