Laura Bell statement

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Run Rampant contemplates the relationships between human and animal, between wilderness and artifice, and between order and the unruly. The work considers the various lenses through which we view the fauna and flora that surround us. At times nature is anthropomorphized or romanticized, while at others, it is a thing to analyze and understand. Likewise, it can be seen as an element to conquer and consume, or it can instill a sense of deep and primal fear.

Human activity has resulted in plant and animal populations that have adapted to an urban environment, creating what are often seen as nuisances or even threats to be dealt with. In obliquely examining the ways in which this activity has altered the development and growth of the natural world, this body of work also rejoices in the exuberant persistence of nature: the flowering plants that sprout up amongst litter and concrete, the kudzu and wisteria vines that rapidly overtake and consume an abandoned house, or the songbirds and rodents building nests from scraps of housing insulation, rusty wire, discarded wrappers, and bottle caps.

There is a stoic adaptation to be found in the animal populations we encounter in our urban and suburban environs. As squirrels rummage through our attics and eat our garden tomatoes, coyotes stroll the edges of our city parks, birds and chipmunks fall prey to house cats, and raccoons and possums take nocturnal ambles through our backyards, wehave found ourselves living among creatures who go about their natural order of business, just as we do. This exhibition celebrates both the creatures themselves, in their adaptability and intrinsic innocence, as well as their natural habitats, as diminishing or mediated as they might be.

There is a deliberate romanticism and even sentimentalityto the works in Run Rampant, which has roots in Victorian sensibilities and its adornment and display. The objects are held apart from the viewer, through the preciousness of the presentation, even as the ornamentation and embellishment create a lure. This stylistic device is adopted as a way to address the disconnect between ourselves, and our rapidly diminishing green and wild spaces. It is also employed as means of memorializing the flora and fauna populations that are being drastically and often tragically altered by civilization, but which ultimately have the potential to survive and thrive in a world without us.