Dimensions 27ft x 8ft (Central Panel, 10ft tall)
From its very conception fourteen years ago, “An African Menagerie” has experienced a journey of growth, meaning, and evolution. Now, it has entered the most exciting phase; creation of the epic vision.
The seven paneled twenty-seven foot long work will feature more than one hundred forty different species from the Dark Continent, spawned from early childhood fascination with both living collections of wild animals, and paintings from the distant past portraying large varied groups of exotic creatures.
In the “Menagerie,” the gathering of an incredible array of wildlife will be set against a grand panoramic backdrop, highlighted by a view of the receding snows of Mount Kilimanjaro. All of Africa’s icons including the Elephant, Leopard, Giraffe, Rhino, Hippo, and Zebra will mingle with such exotics as the Bongo, Okapie, and Mandrill.
More than eighty bird species; Ostrich, Shoebill, Lilac Breasted Roller, and Sacred Ibis among them, have also arrived. And man, who has come to dominate the earth, has been summoned to this gathering, as the natural world seeks answers to the growing issues of survival faced by countless species across the planet.
Allegorical storyline’s intended to dramatize the urgency of the moment are woven into the tapestry of this idyllic scene. For example, the arrival of the “Four Horses” from the far left, and the “Lion and the Lamb” seated directly in front of a “DaVinci” like figure in the foreground, compel the viewer to interact with the scene.
Over the years, the original concept of simply seeking to create art, has evolved into something far more meaningful: a message to humanity intended to inspire acts of conservation. Acts that will save, not just the great iconic species of Africa, but wildlife across our fabulously, diverse planet.
In preparation for the creation of “An African Menagerie,” more than 100 studies will be produced. Pencil, charcoal, monochromatic oils, mixed media and major full color oils will be created as I explore and familiarize myself with a multitude of species.
To date, fourteen of these works have been completed, six of which have been juried into major exhibitions including SAA, AFC, and “Birds in Art,” and one of these has been purchased by the Woodson Museum as part of their permanent collection.
More studies will focus on relative scale, personality, attitude, and the demeanor of a wide array of subjects. Numerous small multi-species paintings will be produced over the course of this process including “The Sunbirds,” “The Duikers,” and “The Ibis” studies, just to name a few. Eight of these pieces will be of major variety.
The following is a list of those works, along with a brief description.
- “Predatoria” – Estimated Dimensions 36″ x 72″
“Predatoria” will feature species ranging from the diminutive Banded Mongoose to the iconic 450lb African Lion. Also included are the Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Homo Sapien, Honey Badger, Cheetah, and others in a menagerie grouping.
- “The Last Quagga” – Estimated Dimensions 36″ x 48″
A detailed full color study of the extinct Quagga Zebra
- “Twelve Monkeys” – Estimated Dimensions 40″ x 80″
Several of the primates including the Western Lowland Gorilla, Yellow Baboon, Wolf’s Mona Monkey, Mandrill, Homo Sapien, Colobus Monkey, and others.
- “Omega Man” – Estimated Dimensions 36″ x 48″
A study of Homo Sapien inspired by DaVinci’s “Vitruvian Man.”
- “The Birds” – Dimensions 36″ x 48″
The nearly completed menagerie grouping of more than 20 of Africa’s most iconic avian species including the Ostrich, Shoebill, Crowned Crane, Lilac Breasted Roller, Bateluer Eagle, and Lesser Flamingo.
- “The Four Horses” – Estimated Dimensions 40″ x 60″
A Prestudy of the Equines includes the Mountain Zebra, Grevy’s Zebra, Burchell’s Zebra, and the Quagga.
- “Jurassica” – Estimated Dimensions 72″ x 72″
“Jurassica” will feature several of the more prehistoric appearing species including the Elephant, Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, and Crocodile.
- “The Master Prestudy” – Estimated Dimensions 48″ x 96″
The Master Prestudy will be a complete monochromatic preliminary study of the final epic 27ft long painting titled “An African Menagerie,” “The Inquisition.”