The Wild Within/ The Wild Without
Artist Statement for Rosemary G. Conroy’s current exhibit
Currently on view at the Gallery at Wren, Bethlehem NH through May 30, 2016
So I started working on this show with the idea that it would be about lions, tigers, and bears. That’s right: “Oh My!” It seemed like a fun angle and I’ve always been a big fan of The Wizard of Oz.
But as I began to research lions, tigers and bears, I was dismayed to find out how poorly many of these species are doing in the wild. I had no idea things had gotten so dire. There are more tigers in captivity now than in the wild, for one sad example. Lion numbers are plummeting – less than 20,000. It was closer to 400,000 just 50 years ago. And polar bears – well you’ve probably heard about what’s going on in the Arctic already.
So the light-hearted “Oh My!” quickly turned into a much more dismayed “oh, my.”
A very wise woman then told me that some people believe that every species on this planet has a purpose. Once they have fulfilled that purpose, they will leave – as in go extinct. Wow. What a concept! And while I am still pondering the full implications of that radical idea, it got me thinking: if lions, and tigers and polar bears are completing their journeys on the planet, than we should find a way to thank them from the very bottom of our hearts for being here.
So, here is my small attempt to honor them through my art. For me, it’s now more “OH MY: Aren’t we so lucky to have had these amazing creatures bless our planet with their wildness?”
I’ve inscribed my words of gratitude for each species into many of the portraits I’ve painted for this show. My intent is about showing my reverence and awe and of course, love.
Because no matter what their fate may be, (and there are many, many people working to ensure these beautiful creatures do not disappear anytime soon) I want to express my sincere appreciation for all these wild creatures have done to make our outer world a much more interesting and beautiful place.