Sometimes a certain icon will pop up in my daily life. If it repeats several times, there’s a good chance it will show up in my artwork. My story begins with rabbit images featured in an art show at Cheekwood Art & Gardens in Nashville. Artist Joseph Peragine chose a white rabbit as he explores the theme of “vulnerability” following 9/11. Also in the show included images of Sherman tanks. Apparently, the design did not do well in tank-to-tank combat.
acrylic on canvas, 5" x 5"
When I arrived back to Memphis, I thumbed through a book I bought at Cheekwood. In it I stumbled across a photo of a sculpture located on the grounds. Sophie Ryder built her sculpture, Crawling Lady Hare, in 1997, when she was an artist-in-residence. It was constructed out of tightly bundled galvanized wire supported by a steel armature.
The following day I met an art professor, my family put me in touch with, over at Rhodes College’s Clough-Hanson Gallery. There was an exhibit of T. L. Solien’s work. Several of his pieces included cartoon-like rabbits. I don’t remember if this one is in the show, but it was similar to the ones included in the brochure I picked up. His surreal images depict events in his life.
Some weeks later when I was back in New Orleans I noticed a newspaper story about a giant pink bunny sculpture erected on an Italian mountainside. A Viennese group of artists, calling themselves Gelitin (Gelatin until 2005) stated that the giant stuffed toy was “knitted by grannies of pink wool.” The idea was to give people the feeling that the rabbit was the giant, Gulliver. People who have visited the sculphttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifture have been invited by Gelitin to upload photos to the website photo album.
Well having encountered these four instances of rabbits, I decided it was a good symbol for me to represent my evacuation to Memphis. Also, the day I went to Cheekwood, I was trying to keep my mind off the fact that Rita was delaying return home. The excursion was an additional escape, if you will. For this painting I decided to paint a simplified white rabbit with a green background. The white rabbit was one I first saw At Cheekwood. The green background has to do with the Cheekwood gardens.