Multispecies Futures through Art

Authored by: Ron Broglio

The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Art, Visual Culture, and Climate Change

Print publication date:  February  2021
Online publication date:  February  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367221102
eBook ISBN: 9780429321108
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429321108-37

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Abstract

Isabella Kirkland paints lush natural history works reminiscent of seventeenth-century Dutch still lifes or British natural history illustrations during the age of colonial conquests. In Gone, Kirkland amasses detailed bodies, scales, feathers, and fur of sixty-three different species ranging from the Jamaican giant galliwasp to a Laughing Owl and a Tasmanian Tiger, from reptiles to birds to insects to mammals. 1 Despite stylistic similarities to early natural history works, Kirkland’s paintings are importantly different from their predecessors. All of the species in Gone are extinct due to the weight of human intervention in ecosystems across the globe. She is leveraging the stylistic language of natural history which accompanied the age of exploration and revealing it as an age of exploitation in which animals become the roadkill on the highways of human progress.

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