Work in progress…
Oil paint on canvas paper, A4, 2011- now
Like so much of the minutiae of the world around us ants go mostly unnoticed. I have always had a curiosity for insects and this curiosity was piqued as an adolescent when I discovered biologist and myrmecologist, Edward Wilson and his book On Human Nature (1978) and the Encyclopedia of Life which is an online database with an aspiration to gather information on every known species on Earth, an idea conceived by Edward Wilson. His look at the astonishing behaviors and variety of species of ants inspired me as did his theories on sociobiology (theory that human behaviour can be explained by theory of evolution).
When I was 17 I had an argument with a fellow student who refused to believe that we were animals. She seemed to feel that her life was somehow demeaned by this notion. At age 20 I had a similar discussion with a friend who was saddened by my belief that we are animals and as such we are not superior in any spiritual way nor do we have any transcendental purpose. He saw this as sad, feeling a need to fight for his faith in a greater intention or meaning for humans over all other life.
Brian Cox has stated that to be comfortable without a belief in the spiritual you must be comfortable with the unknown. Just like Brian Cox, I have always been excited by, rather than fearful of, the unknown. If I have a religion or a belief in something greater, it is in beauty. A beauty I see in the infinite complexities of our physical world. My paintings of ants are a celebration of my beliefs. They show an excitement in the discovery of something unknown and the thrill of new knowledge. There are over 1100 species of ants that we have identified so far and a suspected few hundred more that are as yet unidentified.