Humankind has always had a complicated relationship with nature, characterized by awe and admiration, tension and destruction. The human desire to be surrounded by images of nature has been replicated in household ornamentation throughout civilizations. The walls of the imperial villas of Ancient Rome were adorned with frescoes detailing rich flora and fauna. During the Renaissance, Rafael reinvented this ancient style through his grotesques, which depict birds, fruits, and plant life. Carefully crafted representations of the natural world were re- imagined yet again in 19th century Britain when William Morris began producing richly ornamented wallpaper featuring wild birds and vegetation.
Artist, Claire Rosen, offers a new perspective on this tradition with portraits of creatures photographed against complementary historic reproduction wallpaper popular during the Victorian Era. As the cult of colonization and exploration spread during the Victorian Era in Europe, it yielded brutal discovery and domination of faraway places, creatures and cultures. As these discoveries made their way back to Europe, collection and display as well as a general fascination with the natural world and its exotic inhabitants rose in fashion. This series references that desire to possess the beautiful, wild and exotic, a possession that permanently changes the object of desire through its dislocation. The backgrounds in this series are selected to induce beauty, optical illusion and visual blending, the animals appear to belong when in reality it is a far cry from their natural environment.
Scattered across the Photoville LA lawn will be 3 larger-than-life photographic puzzles featuring Claire Rosen’s fantastical creatures.