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Fragmented Perspective

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004397/00001

Material Information

Title: Fragmented Perspective
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: MacGregor, Megan
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Dolphins
Watercolor
Fragmentation
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This thesis challenges stereotypes of dolphins by presenting them in a manner that is contradictory to mainstream representations of animals as graceful, joyous and free. Through experience volunteering at Mote Marine Laboratory and interning at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Florida, I have come to understand that stereotypes offer an incomplete idealized image of dolphins.The art for this thesis shows dolphins in a large-scale, fragmented format with an anthropomorphic gaze that confronts the viewer. The negative space delineated from the fragmentation creates a grid system of bars or windows which pushes the question, who is in captivity: the dolphin or the human? Artists who were investigated for this thesis include Robert Wyland, William Wegman, Walton Ford, and John James Audubon
Statement of Responsibility: by Megan MacGregor
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Anderson, Kim

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 M1
System ID: NCFE004397:00001

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004397/00001

Material Information

Title: Fragmented Perspective
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: MacGregor, Megan
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Dolphins
Watercolor
Fragmentation
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This thesis challenges stereotypes of dolphins by presenting them in a manner that is contradictory to mainstream representations of animals as graceful, joyous and free. Through experience volunteering at Mote Marine Laboratory and interning at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Florida, I have come to understand that stereotypes offer an incomplete idealized image of dolphins.The art for this thesis shows dolphins in a large-scale, fragmented format with an anthropomorphic gaze that confronts the viewer. The negative space delineated from the fragmentation creates a grid system of bars or windows which pushes the question, who is in captivity: the dolphin or the human? Artists who were investigated for this thesis include Robert Wyland, William Wegman, Walton Ford, and John James Audubon
Statement of Responsibility: by Megan MacGregor
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Anderson, Kim

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 M1
System ID: NCFE004397:00001


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! FRAGMENTED PERSPECTIVE BY MEGAN MACGREGOR A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Arts New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Kim Anderson Sarasota, Florida May, 2011

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To my mom, for igniting my love for animals from a very young age, and to my dad for not divorcing her every time we brought a new stray cat into the house. ii

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Acknowledgments I'd like to acknowledge Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Fl and the thirteen dolphins--Bob, Jessica, Zoe, Elvis, Nica, Squirt, Lotus, Bella, Fiji, Sara, Grace, Dingy and Julie--all of whom showed me what dolphins are really like; and the dolphin trainers who work every day to bond with these creatures and give them the optimum life experience. My sponsor Kim Anderson, for delighting me when she told me my thesis could be about dolphins and egging me on in the process of finding my way. My loved ones for making my life fun and New College for being the splendidly awesome school it is to give me the opportunity to pursue the things I love. iii

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Table of Contents Introduction................................................................................................................1 The Dolphin as the Anti-Stereotype...........................................................................2 Human-animal relationships in Contemporary and Historical art..............................7 Fragmented Perspective............................................................................................23 Conclusion................................................................................................................26 Images.......................................................................................................................28 Works Cited...............................................................................................................44 iv

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Image List Figure 1. Robert Wyland, Florida's Living Reef, 1993, 52' x 45', acrylic on wall Figure 2. Robert Wyland, Earth, the Blue Planet, 2009, 29' x 45', giclee on canvas Figure 3. William Wegman, Photographer, 1998, 8"x 10", chromogeniu print Figure 4. Walton Ford, Tur 2007, 95"x 132", watercolor, gouache on paper Figure 5. Walton Ford, Scipio and the Bear 2007, 59.5" x119.5", watercolor, gouache, pencil and ink on paper Figure 6. Walton Ford, Chingado 1998, 60" x 119", watercolor, gouache, pencil and ink on paper Figure 7. John James Audubon, Ruby-Throated Humming Bird ca. 1826-1836, 25" x 32", giclee on paper Figure 8. John James Audubon, Cow-pen ca. 1826-1836, 28" x 58", giclee on paper Figure 9. John James Audubon, Male Mallard ca. 1826-1836, 24" x 37", giclee on paper Figure 10. Megan MacGregor, They call me Big Mama 2011, 40" x 40", watercolor on paper Figure 11. Megan MacGregor, Watching you watch me watch you 2011, 19" x 95", watercolor on paper Figure 12. Megan MacGregor, Inmate number 5436 2011, 34" x 48", watercolor on paper v

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Figure 13. Megan MacGregor, Stop staring, I'm not that beautiful 2011, 39" x 54", watercolor on paper Figure 14. Megan MacGregor, Want to go for a swim? 2011, 34" x 54", watercolor on paper Figure 15. Megan MacGregor, Apparently, they sometimes mistake me for a shark 2011, 18" x 54", watercolor on paper Figure 16. Megan MacGregor, I'm a little broken up about it, 2011, 36" x 90", watercolor on paper vi

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FRAGMENTED PERSPECTIVE Megan MacGregor New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT This thesis challenges stereotypes of dolphins by presenting them in a manner that is contradictory to mainstream representations of animals as graceful, joyous and free. Through experience volunteering at Mote Marine Laboratory and interning at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Florida, I have come to understand that stereotypes offer an incomplete idealized image of dolphins. The art for this thesis shows dolphins in a large-scale, fragmented format with an anthropomorphic gaze that confronts the viewer. The negative space delineated from the fragmentation creates a grid system of bars or windows which pushes the question, who is in captivity: the dolphin or the human? Artists who were investigated for this thesis include Robert Wyland, William Wegman, Walton Ford, and John James Audubon Kim Anderson Division of Humanities vii

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Introduction The breathtaking animal leaps out of the ocean, speckles of water sparkling on its sleek body in the setting sun--the pinnacle of grace and freedom. In today's commercial art, this is the stereotypical representation of the dolphin. Now imagine the same animal, except this time immersed in its environment. As it swims toward the viewer, its body contorts and a large eye glares out behind the illusion of bars created from a fragmented animal. To influence people to reconstruct their perception of dolphins, my thesis challenges stereotypes through the use of stylistic devices and techniques. The series of art for this thesis is comprised of seven paintings of dolphins, each animal fragmented into parts. The negative space delineated from individual panels creates the appearance of a grid system in the form of windows or bars, and in each image, the eye of the dolphin is prominent, returning the gaze of the viewer. To challenge the stereotype of the dolphin, the dolphins are larger than life, surrounding the viewers, towering over them. Each dolphin has a gaze through which it reflects a human perspective as it peers through a window or from behind bars. The bars and windows separate the viewer from the animal and at the same time influence the viewer to question who is in captivity: the dolphin or the human? By presenting the dolphin as possessing the ability to judge and representing the animal as challenging the viewer, the art is contradicting the stereotypical perception of the dolphin as graceful and free. Through my own experience interning at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Florida, and through taking animal psychology courses at New College of FLorida, I have learned that the stereotype of the dolphin is inherently flawed; there is more to them than the one1

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sided perspective stereotypes offers. They can be dominating and nurturing, aggressive and loyal as mothers or as the alpha of a pod. They possess a system of communication similar to the ways in which humans interact; and it is because of their intelligence that people often object to dolphins living in captivity, but it is also because of their intelligence and versatility that they are in captivity. The relationship between humans and dolphins ranges from using dolphins for entertainment at places like Sea World, to using them for therapeutic purposes, research, and even utilizing them in the military for rescue operations or as bomb locators; the depth of this relationship is the reason dolphins were chosen for this thesis. The relationship between humans and animals can be seen in the work of Robert Wyland, who presents marine mammals in the stereotypical fashion that my art is challenging. Another artist who has chosen to challenge stereotypes is William Wegman, who depicts dogs as mocking human behavior. Walton Ford represents animals as metaphors for the flaws and strengths in human behavior and culture. Similarily, John James Audubon projects himself into the depiction of birds by transferring his flaws into the study and understanding of birds. All of these artists focus on the relationship between humans and animals which is inherently what my thesis addresses. The Dolphin as the anti-Stereotype 2

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http://www.dolphintrainer.com/dolphins_profile.htm Surrounded by the ocean, it would be logical that the Florida Keys would have a place where people could come and swim with the dolphins. In Key Largo, I had the opportunity to intern for one month at such a facility called Dolphins Plus, where thirteen Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins live. Two pens border either side of a canal and are considered "open water" environments, as ocean water streams naturally into the canal. Three times a day, people pay to swim with the dolphins for twenty to thirty minutes in a structured environment where trainers perform behaviors with the animals. Every day, as people entered the pen, sometimes by themselves or in large groups, there was always a consistent expression on their faces--a sense of awe. It was clear that interacting with these creatures was a surreal, ethereal experience, and I'm sure the same look was on my face the first time I got into the water with them. Working around dolphins eight hours a day, and being used as a guinea pig for trainers who wanted to teach new behaviors to the dolphins, I was rewarded the experience of getting to know these animals past the superficial level of their stereotype. The dolphins at Dolphins Plus inspired the paintings for this thesis because they allowed me to see past the stereotype, where I learned of their intelligence, and got to experience first-hand the depth of these creatures. Of the thirteen dolphins, nine lived in the South pen and four lived in the North pen on the opposite side of the canal. Often times, I would witness a North side dolphin, Dingy, facing the South side as high pitched whistles and clicks penetrated the surface of the water. I quickly learned from the trainers that Dingy was the alpha female of the pod 3

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and despite the separation in the canal she often communicated to the other nine dolphins, and as some of the trainers put it, "ordered them around." Four months prior to my arrival at Dolphins Plus, a dolphin on the North side named Little Bit "LB," died. LB had been the alpha of the pod, and this role had transferred to Dingy, the female he mated with most often, after his death. Sara, another female who lived on the North side, had also mated with LB, and during my time at Dolphins Plus, it appeared as if she were trying to reign over Dingy. The trainers were surprised to find "rake marks," lines caused by the dolphin's teeth, across Dingy's back. It was interesting for me to perceive dolphins in this new, unusual way. Witnessing the rake marks revealed the dolphins as tactile creatures; every dolphin had these types of parallel scratches on some portion of their body. It was a way in which they communicated with each other: the marks were the result of a rough playtime, a mother scolding her calf, or in the case of Dingy and Sara, aggression. Here, the dolphins were far from idealized. In captivity, dolphins are prone to kidney stones as their access to fresh water is limited. In the wild, they receive their fresh water through the fish they eat, but in captivity, because the fish is frozen beforehand, dolphins receive extra fresh water from pieces of jello. To help avoid kidney stones and to flush out the systems of dolphins who already have them, it was part of my job to help trainers stick tubes down the dolphin's throat and pour water into their stomach. Apart from this, I assisted veterinarians in drawing blood, witnessed an ultrasound for a pregnant dolphin, and even helped pull a fish spike from a dolphin's fluke. Each day, the trainers would look over their dolphins to see if there were any new cuts, and it seemed that every day the trainers were putting honey, a natural antiseptic, onto some minor 4

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wound. Some dolphins were missing small portions of their dorsal fin, others had crooked rostrums, and each one had its own unique personality and preference for fish and specific behaviors. Drawing blood from the dolphin was considered a low-frequency behavior, and the trainer would reinforce it with a high frequency behavior; in animal training this is called the Premack Principle. The high frequency behavior was something that the animal thoroughly enjoyed doing, such a bow, also referred to as a jump, or a run, where the dolphins swims fast around the pen. The preferred high frequency behavior varied among dolphins. A few of the dolphins at Dolphins Plus were removed from the Sarasota Bay in the early 1980's to help implement the swim-with-the dolphins program, however the majority of the dolphins were born and raised in captivity. In order to further help deviate from the stereotype of the dolphin, I felt that an understanding of the intelligence of dolphins was important in aiding a deeper understanding of the animals. Because of their aquatic environment, dolphins have decreased olfactory senses as well as limited visibility. "Thus, the acoustic channel is the primary one available for social interactions and the only one that allows interaction over distances greater than a few body lengths" (Janik 124). Dolphins also use echolocation as a means to interact with one another. With echolocation, the animal produces sounds and listens to the echoes that bounce around the environment (Janik 125). With this mechanism, they can locate food or other individuals. I learned at Dolphins Plus that echolocation can enable the animals to assess danger through echolocating a shark's stomach to see if the animal is full or looking to eat. In fact, they can also sense when a 5

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human is pregnant. Beyond echolocation, dolphins primarily use their whistles as a means of interacting with one another (Janik 124). The most commonly used whistle among dolphins is the signature whistle. The signature whistle carries identity information, which can allow dolphins to locate other animals in the wild.(Janik Sayigh & Wells 8293). It's similar to the human version of a name. As is the case in a captive environment like Dolphins Plus, signature whistles can also be used as a means to assert dominance over a pod. Dingy may use her signature whistle when communicating with the dolphins across the canal as a means to let them know who is interacting with whom. Researchers discovered the significance of the signature whistle in an experiment where they created synthetic whistles that lacked vocal cues but captured the encoded information in the whistle. They found that a dolphin was more likely to turn towards the whistle of a related dolphin than towards the synthetic whistle of an unknown individual (Janik Sayigh Wells & 8293). This study shows that "signature whistles carry sufficient information for individual discrimination, [are] used by the receiver to identify individuals [and] facilitate continued contact between individuals" (Janik Sayigh & Wells 8295). The ability of dolphins to use "descriptive labels in referential communication" (Janik Sayigh & Wells 8293) makes their form of communicating extremely similar to how humans interact vocally with one another. Because of their intelligence, and perhaps aided by the stereotype of the dolphin as graceful and free, there is much conflict about dolphin captivity. Of the dozens of people I saw swim with dolphins, every single one of them had a smile on their face. Perhaps the stereotype of the joyous dolphin with a permanent smile on its face 6

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influences people to interact with them in captivity. However, people do not come to swim with a stereotype; they come to swim with the real thing. Animal activists, in contrast, propose that wild animals should not be removed from their natural environment and that dolphins are supposed to travel many miles a day, not just swim and turn around in a small enclosed area. In applying for my internship, I confessed my mixed feelings about animal captivity to one of the dolphins trainers. She explained that she had been burdened with similar feelings until she came to see dolphins in captivity as ambassadors for their species, promoting conservation and enabling researchers to learn more about the aquatic world and the minds of the creatures who live there. A sign of a happy captive dolphin is procreation, which the dolphins at Dolphins Plus were constantly involved in: there was a five month old calf named Zoe who was just learning how to eat fish during my internship, and another dolphin was pregnant. My artwork touches on the pros and cons of captivity by creating a grid system through the fragmentation of the image, which appears similar to the bars of a cage. I am not as interested in putting dolphins in the tank as I am in putting humans in the tank. My art is not intended to take a stance on captivity but rather to flip the perspective humans have come to build of dolphins as one-faceted animals. By metaphorically putting the humans in the tank, surrounded by the dolphins who are watching them rather than the other way around, I intend to expand on stereotypes and influence viewers to be open to a redefinition of their perspective of dolphins. Human-animal relationship in contemporary and historical art 7

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One hundred walls with one hundred whales in one hundred cities around the world. Robert Wyland's "whaling walls," are "dedicated to saving our ocean planet'" (Wyland in Manheimer 76). In addition to painting his murals for free, Wyland is sponsored by corporations such as Sherwin-Williams and Chevrolet and has over thirty galleries selling "limited edition prints, paintings, bronzes, and sculptural coffee tables" (Manheimer 76). Because of this, Wyland's painting have become a commerical enterprise and walk the line between furniture and art. His paintings present marine life in an anthropomorphized manner that stereotypes animals. Florida's Living Reef [Figure 1] painted on the Waterfront Market building in Key West, Florida presents a scene of frolicking dolphins, curious sea turtles and a lone shark. The painting shows both an underwater and above water view. The underwater perspective, a view that humans do not often have access to, shows a shark on the prowl, a sea turtle following some fish and a manta ray gliding near the surface. However, the main focal point of the painting are the dolphins. They are the only creatures who bridge the gap between the underwater and above water environments as they effortlessly break the surface. Underwater, they are painted in a small pod, and above water they are spaced out and represented as silhouettes leaping out of the water in front of as setting sun. The underwater dolphins appear almost cartoonish, and seem to be grinning, while the above surface dolphins are reduced only to their shape. It is these kinds of giddy, care-free depictions of dolphins that perpetuate the stereotype and create a onesided perspective that limits the viewer's ability to understand the depth of the creatures. 8

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In a more unrealistic, but similar manner, Earth, the Blue Planet [Figure 2] shows a humpback whale and her calf against a symbolic representation of the Universe ( Art Business News 12). The mother humpback whale is zooming past the stars, floating in space, as she gingerly touches planet Earth with the front of her face. Her calf observes her actions, as if the mother is instructing the baby about the delicate balance of life on planet Earth. The original 4 by 7 foot piece was reproduced into a 4,000 square foot image that covers the wall of the entrance into the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood where Disney's film "Earth" is screened ( Art Business News 12). "Earth" tells the story of three animals and their families as they embark on their own journeys around the world. Paired with the film, Wyland's painting, Earth the Blue Planet, idolizes marine life as being the pinnacle of the beauty of our world. By representing the mother humpback beside her calf, amongst the stars, the whale is presented as the origin of life, divine and ethereal. To Wyland, Earth represents "the delicate and fragile balance that supports the cycle of life on Earth" ( Art Business New 12). Wyland influences a mass perception of the animals in a stereotyped version that creates a one sided perspective of the animal as wholesome and pure. Wyland sells what the public likes to see; he creates a positive image that appeals to a large audience, which promotes a stereotype. While he proclaims himself a conservationist, his perception of marine life is devoid of reality; his anthropomorphized stereotypes are reflective of a conquered perspective: the animal is depicted only as we would like it to be. The whale appears God-like, put upon a pedestal; and it seems as though Wyland is attempting to influence people to respect the creatures we share out magnificent planet 9

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with. However, Wyland's artwork is mass produced to such a degree that it seems the opposite is true. The image of the friendly whale or dolphin is so prevalent in our society that the animal is not respected as a wild creature, but taken for granted as a tool for entertainment to make money. By presenting the dolphin as fragmented, watchful, and confrontational, my artwork attempts to influence people to expand on stereotypes and understand that there is much more to a wild animal. Although William Wegman's artwork is also mass-produced, his anthropomorphic photographs of dogs, challenge stereotypes in a way that Wyland's dolphins do not: an attractive, elegant Weimaraner, a dog known for its love of attention, is looking at the camera. It is upright, wearing a polka-dotted shirt, a dark jacket and standing behind a camera. A five-fingered hand holds a remote to the camera. This is not a normal dog. In William Wegman's photograph Photographer (1998) [Figure 3], Wegman has dressed up his dog Chip to be a photographer. However, this is nothing too out of the ordinary, as his Weimaraners have become many different characters over the years, from forlorn movie stars to canoeing enthusiasts. Photographer like Wegman's other dog-as-human photographs, is striking and humorous because it represents the dog in a perspective that anyone who owns a dog is not used to seeing. At the same time, the image subtly mocks human behavior: "His dogs make the desire to pose or dress up appear preposterous." (Stevens 84). By dressing the dog up like a person, Wegman is applying human characteristics to it. The viewer looks at the dog and does not see just a dog; the viewer sees a photographer with a dog's head. Wegman creates a false perspective of the animal and 10

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turns the dog into something that is not just man's best friend, but a figure, as strange as it may look, who could have the ability to discern, judge, and prefer--and most importantly, watch us back: "They have a way of reflecting our gaze, turning us back upon ourselves until we become the subject. The dog is the viewer; we're the show. That reversal in perspective is the most unusual aspect of Wegman's comedy," (Stevens 84). Chip is watching us, looking at the camera, and perhaps since he is a photographer, it is the rare moment when that blase expression of his is captured on the other side of the camera. Wegman influences us to make such judgements, but perhaps we might also wonder if Chip is also judging us. The inverted gaze of Wegman's dogs is a similar approach I have taken with my dolphins. By giving the animal a perspective of its own, anthropomorphism goes beyond stereotypes and into the realm of intelligence, a place where the animal could be capable of judging us instead of the other way around. Because dolphins are extraordinarily intelligent, able to communicate with each other in a similar way humans do, the inverted gaze is even more effective in influencing viewers to feel surrounded and looked upon by the animals. In 2 Dogs dressed Up to Look Like Children (1997), an old photograph shows two young girls, dressed identically in an odd combination of winter gear smiling at the camera. They wear hats that are too large for them, eccentric furry coats, and shoes that stick out against their white leggings. Below the image, Wegman has written a description that elaborates on the title: "They [the two dogs] were given identical sets of clothing and were instructed to dress any way they wanted to. The two dogs were 11

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unrelated in any way shape or form to the children they were asked to portray" (Feinstein 180). In photographs similar to Photographer Wegman takes a human stereotype, such as a photographer and then dresses his dogs in human clothing to portray that stereotype. In 2 Dogs, however, the humans have now become the dogs portraying the human stereotype: "As usual, he likes to begin with a cliche--and then playfully open out and disrupt its form and content" (Stevens 84). My work is attempting to do a similar thing, by capturing an image of a dolphin, cropping into it, abstracting and fragmenting it, to gain a new perspective. In 2 Dogs, Wegman doesn't just play with the human stereotype, but the dog stereotype as well The humans are now mocking the dogs who were once mocking the humans. Essentially, Wegman is creating a revolving door between the human-animal relationship. He is also elaborating on the idea of the dog having humanlike qualities. By using real people as his "dogs" instead of regular dogs, he is truly giving the animal a perspective of its own. The "dog" now has the ability to choose its own clothing, and the clothes are mismatched, just as they may be if real dogs had picked them out to wear. This exchange between humans and dogs is even further enhanced in his video, New and Used Car Salesman (1978). Here, Wegman is giving a sales pitch to the camera with his Weimaraner on his lap. At one point in the video, Wegman points to the dog as if to imply his trustworthiness as man's best friend. In that instant, the dog shifts in his lap, and Wegman stops talking in order to struggle with the dog. The dog eventually redistributes his weight and sits back down, and Wegman continues his pitch as if no 12

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disturbance had occurred. In her article "Video Dog Star: William Wegman, Aesthetic Agency, and the Animal in Experimental Video Art," McHugh describes this interaction as "human speech containing a dog's expression of thought" (McHugh 234). She also discusses a power imbalance that lies in the fact that the dog cannot speak human language. This barrier in communication, however, provides what McHugh describes as a "competing narrative," (McHugh 235) in which the dog momentarily becomes the star of the video as Wegman is forced to stop talking in the process of resettling the animal on his lap. McHugh says this spontaneity is what Wegman's photography and videos thrive on. It is the man being a man, and the dog being a dog, that makes Wegman's work so successful. As in Ball and Can, Wegman's work captures the true nature of both species-human as proactive, throwing the trash away, wanting to sell something, and the dog with a more laid-back, looking-for-a-good-time-approach. McHugh suggests that "crossspecies interaction offers different ways of mediating the relationship among humans, [and] animals" (McHugh 240). It is this delineation of behavior between species and how man might act from the dog's point of view that makes Wegman's work influential in the execution of my artwork, where humans are influenced to position themselves in the place of dolphins. This focus on the varying perspectives between the human and the animal is addressed in Walton Ford's introspective narratives. His animals serve as metaphors for the relationship humans have created with animals. The artwork poses questions about a humans coexisting rather than conquering animals. His large scale, intricately detailed 13

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watercolors express historical precedents through the eyes of the animal: "I want to tell their story on some level--whether it's a narrative imposed from outside or their own story" (Ford in Hirsch 134). Ford often depicts the relationship between humans and animals by representing animals that are integral to humans in some way. He depicts animals that often represent the codependent relationship humans have created with animals as a way to describe the importance of animals in human's lives. In Tur ( 2007) [Figure 4], Ford depicts an extinct species of bull, the aurochs. According to Ford, the animal became extinct before "it could even be described. It was the first animal that was ever painted by a human being" (Hirsch 134). Ford explains that the auroch is the creature that all modern cows are descended from. The creature was seen as a challenge to humans because it's rarity and aggressive temperament made it so hard to kill, which Ford says led to the creations of political structures and the monarchies of Europe. Because of this influence, the auroch was perhaps "the most important human/animal interaction in Western culture" (Hirsch 135). Years later, after the aurochs became extinct, a group of Nazis, led by the Heck brothers, who owned the Berlin Zoo, decided that they were going to try to recreate the species. By back breeding modern cattle, they hoped that they could somehow bring the aurochs back from extinction--not knowing that DNA would make this impossible. Ford's painting depicts not just the last aurochs but the exact type of animal that the Nazis failed to create (Hirsch 135). In comparison, Ford's painting Scipio and the Bear [Figure 5] depicts a different representation of this human-animal relationship: "In this case, it was 14

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very important for me to do the reverse of what I did with the aurochs--where I told it from the human's point of view--and tell it from the bear's point of view" (Hirsch 135). Inspired by John James Audubon, a self-proclaimed naturalist who killed birds in order to paint, the story was that a farmer asked Audubon for some help to stop some bears from eating his corn. They went out one night on a bloody rampage: their dogs either killed the bears, or they ran them up trees whereby Audubon and the farmer burned the foliage. As a result, Audubon and this farmer burned more corn then they would have lost originally from the bears eating it. With Bear, Ford poses the question: "What is it like, if you're a black bear in 1820, and you have the misfortune of coming across Audubon?" (Ford in Hirsch 135). With both Bear and Tur, Ford is critiquing human behavior. The bull represents the human's dependence on an animal that came to define human culture. It was not until after the creature was extinct that people realized the potential value in the animal being alive. The bear is a further example of the flawed human perspective that domination of an animal can be beneficial to humanity. By attempting to kill the bears rather than learning to coexist with them, the farmer killed more of his own crops then the bears would have. He believed that by killing the bears he would save his crop when, in fact, the opposite happened. Both paintings are representations of animals that in some way reflect the human flaws in approaching the animal as something that can be conquered. Bear is a result of the devalued relationship humans have created with animals. The painting depicts two bears clinging desperately to a tree limb as a fire burns in a cornfield in the distance; by 15

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taking on the animal's perspective in the tree, the humans are perceived as threatening. Tur takes the relationship from the human's perspective, showing the bull at it's prime, the result of what could have happened if only humans had appreciated it before killing it to extinction. Ford also expresses this relationship between humans and animals by depicting the animals engaged in activities and behaving in ways that are unnatural to them: "The idea of the animal behaving in a way that is natural, or intrinsic to the animal, is bullshit, (Enright 35)." Sanctuary (1999) is inspired by Carl Akely, who worked in the Museum of Natural History, creating gorilla dioramas. In the early twentieth century, not much was understood about gorillas and it was rare person who had ever seen one in the wild; Akely wanted to change that. On multiple expeditions into the jungles of Rwanda, Akely began to revolutionize the ways in which people understood animals, through the use of taxidermy. Rather then just stuffing the animals as had previously been done, Akely began making plaster casts of the animals face, referred to as "death masks." The plaster casts allowed for the gorilla's intricate facial details to be saved; the veins could be seen, the texture of the hair, the expression of the mouth. Sanctuary depicts Akely's favorite gorilla, a silver back he killed himself, climbing a tree branch, the jungle spanning out behind him; in its hand is a human skull (Hirsch 141, 203) What makes Ford's paintings even more interesting, is the narrative beneath the superficial: On a second expedition to the mountains, Akely died of dysentery and was buried at the spot that's depicted in the diorama. Years later, his grave had been robbed. Although it had probably been disrupted as a result of the wars in Rwanda, Ford's 16

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painting depicts the possibility that the gorilla was the ones who had stolen his skeleton (Hirsch 203): "Akeley collected them," Ford explained, "and they collected him right back" (Tomkins 50). By depicting Akeley's favorite gorilla holding the explorer's skull, Ford is representing a relationship between man and animal that exists even after death. By anthropomorphizing the animal as engaging in the human-like behavior of collecting something of meaning, Ford is saying that the gorillas were more intelligent than even Akely gave them credit for and that this relationship Akely created with these animals was based on the fragmented perspective that Akely gained from killing them rather than studying them. Our interactions with animals are based on how we perceive them, but at the same time, our view of them may not be whole in its understanding. My artwork intends to address this issue of the fragmented ways in which humans have come to perceive dolphins. While I am not creating detailed narratives like Ford does, I am depicting my dolphins as an anti-stereotype: large and obtrusively confronting the viewer. Through fragmentation of the animal, I am using a stylistic technique that is reflective of the limited perspective humans have of dolphins. The intention of my work is similar to Ford's in Sanctuary where he is questioning how humans interact with animals, and essentially how we perceive them: "I don't care so much about the animal. I care about the way we think about animals" (Ford in Hirsch 203). Ford also uses his animals as metaphors for human identity and the ways in which humans interact with their natural environment. In Chingado [Figure 6] Ford depicts a bull raping a jaguar, whose fangs are sunken into the bull's neck. The term "chingado" is 17

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Spanish for "fucked up"; but Ford is not just applying that term to the image of a bull and jaguar copulating (Tomkins 50). He is using the bull and jaguar as stand-in's for a larger metaphor dealing with deforestation in Southern Mexico. The bull is representative of the Spanish culture, and the jaguar is a Mayan image; the bull is branded with a tattoo of the Mayan symbol of death, and the Jaguar has the cross of Christ the Conquer embedded into it (Enright 26). The purpose of branding each animal with an emblem of the opposite culture was to enhance the "fucked up" conflicts. As with his other paintings, there is always a story that goes with it. This one is a result of Ford's expedition to Southern Mexico: "You're struck when you go to the Mayan lands in Mexico by the deforestation caused by the cattle ranches" (Enright 26). Because of this, Ford was surprised to find that the Mayan culture continues to thrive and flourish despite the disappearance of their land. Ford painted the bull as stepping on the jaguar's left front foot, a symbolic gesture indicating that the jaguar, like the jungle, is being "stepped upon" or endangered. The jaguar is standing in for the Mayan culture and although the bull is on top of it, it still appears to have enough strength to bite the bull and stay on its feet. It is unclear who may win the battle, and this is reflective of Ford's awareness of the devastation but surprise as the strength of the culture. By anthropomorphizing animals in this fashion, Ford is using the bull and the jaguar to represent the tension caused from conflicting human desires: "Wherever the bulls are, you're not going to have any jaguars; and wherever the jaguars are, you're not going to have any bulls. So there they are, locked in mortal combat" (Enright 26). Chingado is an example of Ford using animals to make a comment on human behavior 18

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and experience. While most of his animals critique human culture to some degree, the jaguar and bull are not so much commenting on a direct human-animal interaction, but rather expressing how humans interact with each other. However, because Ford is using animals to make this comment, he is creating an indirect relationship between humans and animals. The sexual behavior of animals in the wild would not necessarily be constituted as "making love" as most humans may refer to it. For most wild animals, sex is a means through which to procreate, but can also be a way to communicate domination and control, which is what Ford's jaguar and bull convey. The image of a jaguar and bull having sex may startle the viewer as would witnessing other instinctual behaviors of animals in the wild, such as a lion killing a deer. The behaviors seem barbaric, but what Ford is trying to say is that the ways in which animals treat each other is no more savage then the ways in which humans interact with one another. The image may also appear startling as it represents interspecies intercourse, something that would be unlikely to occur in the wild. This further enhances Ford's intention of representing the intermingling conflicts of two different cultures. The majority of Ford's paintings have to do with the depth of the interactions between man and animal: "But it's the person that gives me a way in" Ford says (Tomkins 50). Although Ford's artwork has since taken on a life of it's own, his original inspiration for his work was the paintings by the self-proclaimed naturalist John James Audubon. Audubon, a bird lover, studied hundreds of birds and painted life-size watercolor renditions of them. He was, however, also a hunter and would often kill the 19

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birds before he painted them, however, the dead animals aided in a more life-like rendition. Before Audubon, depictions of birds from nature were stiff and bland. The style had been to depict the animal species in perspective of their profile and were often lifeless, objects that blended into the two-dimensional space of their white background (Obourn 70). Audubon, however, changed this with a new method he created that would allow him to paint his birds as appearing to have fluidity and movement: "To avoid any suggestion of stiffness he never worked from the stuffed model but invented a way of piercing wire through the bird which he had recently shot to recreate that moment when the great hawk flies low to make his kill" (Weschler 19). His paintings were scientific observations, based on his field notes; however, his understandings of the birds were often reflections of his own emotional turmoil. He seemed to adore them, painting beautiful images, but hate them and kill them at the same time. "Audubon was an avid reader of the French fabulist Jean de La Fontaine, who frequently anthropomorphized animals in his stories and blurred the relationship between the human and animal worlds" (Obourn 73)." It was from Fontaine that Audubon learned that animals were more complicated than he had previously realized (Rhodes in Obourn 73). Audubon often anthropomorphized the birds by attributing human behavior and emotions to them, reflecting his own personal struggles in the behaviors of the birds. He was deeply interested in the parental behaviors of the birds he observed and, consciously or not, projected himself onto them, noting exaggerated details as well as negative criticisms that were perhaps reflective of Audubon's own experience with parenting: he had four children, two of which passed away as infants (Boime 747). It was as if, through 20

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the birds, he could realize and express his sadness for his children's death and impossible dream for them to come back to life. In one painting depicting the Ruby-throated Humming Bird [Figure 7], Audubon comments on the behavior the parents have with the young: ...the newly-hatched pair of young, little larger than humble-bees, naked, blind...and could you see those parents, full of anxiety and fear...you would not fail to be impressed with the deepest pangs which parental affection feels on the unexpected death of a cherished child. Then how pleasing is it, on your leaving the spot, to see the returning hope of the parents, when after examining the nest, they find their nurslings untouched! (Audubon in Boime, 747-48) The observations may be accurate depictions of the behavior of the hummingbird, but the means through which Audubon expressed the emotional pain of the birds seems to have more to do with his own pain. "Once again, Audubon draws a moral lesson from a scientific observation, establishing an analogy between the human fathered species with personal implications for his own autobiography" (Boime 747-48). As a father, Audubon spent much time away from his family. In 1826, he traveled to England to launch the publishing of Birds of America, the book that details his experience and paintings of the birds, spending four years away from his wife and two sons (Boime 746). His field notes seem to reflect his feelings about being a bad husband and father: In an article on his painting of the Cow-Pen Bunting [Figure 8], Audubon was specifically interested in the sexual behavior of the birds, who gave birth and then deposited their hatchlings into the nests of other birds, which would act like foster 21

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parents. "The Cow-Pen Buntings, in fact, like some unnatural parents of our own race, send out their progeny to be nursed" (Audubon in Boime, 747). Because Audubon spent so much time away from his family, it meant that his children were often in the care of his wife or relatives--people other than himself. Critiques on the Cow-Pen were perhaps critiques about himself: "It seems as though Audubon was anxious to write down in graphic form this story of struggle for survival which he had so often contemplated" (Weschler, 18). His negative criticism of the male mallard represented in his painting of the bird [Figure 9], seemed to be a way for Audubon to vent his negative criticism about himself: The unnatural barbarian cares nothing about his progeny, nor has a thought arisen in his mind respecting the lonely condition of his mate, the greatness of her cares, or the sadness that she may experienced under the idea that she had been utterly forsaken by him who once called her his only and truly beloved. No, Reader, not a thought of this kind has he wasted on her whom he has let alone in charge of a set of eggs, and now of a whole flock of innocent ducklings, to secure which from danger, and see them all grow up a pace, she manifests the greatest care and anxiety (Audubon in Boime, 748). Audubon did not have to portray the birds acting as humans to anthropomorphize them; instead he spent most of his time applying his own pain unto them. Eventually, however, he had to have realized that the difference between the bird and the human was that the animal, like the mallard, felt no guilt in the abandoning of its female partner and 22

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ducklings. It was this acknowledgement that the bird could engage in the same behaviors that Audubon was partaking in and feel no remorse, that perhaps led to Audubon's mixed feelings about them. He was fond of these animals, but at the same time, had mixed feelings about them, which was perhaps why he killed them: "Nevertheless, his inability to claim birdlike innocence for his own actions and even to be unceasingly reminded of his human failures by constant exposure to the virtues of his favorite creatures may have engendered his feelings of ambivalence to them" (Boime 749). Because Audubon had the power to kill the birds, he could conquer them, and in an attempt try to erase the negative ways he saw himself. Fragmented Perspective The dolphins in the seven paintings of this series are larger than life, towering over the viewers. Executed in this way, the dolphins seem to surround the viewers, holding their gaze; viewers enter a situation where they are influenced to question the experience of coming face to face with an animal that on average weighs over seven hundred pounds. The scale creates the sensation that the animal is challenging the individual, when what is really being challenged is the perception of the individual. Each of the seven dolphins for this series was painted from photographs taken from either Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida or Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Florida. Photographs were chosen on the basis of capturing an image where the dolphin was engaging with the viewer. The intention of cropping into each dolphin was to abstract the animal by only showing specific parts of its body. Some photographs were chosen on the atypical angle in which the dolphin approached the camera [Figure 10], distorting the 23

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body or the angle of the face. Other images were chosen on the basis of the variety of color and ability to crop into the image to capture the gaze of the eye [Figure 11]. The eye of the dolphin is powerful because it gives the dolphin a sense of perspective. This is similar to the effect that William Wegman gives to his dogs. Both dolphin and dog are given their own platform through which they can make decisions and judge the viewer. The dogs mock human stereotypes, while the dolphins create a similar effect in inverting the gaze of the viewer. The human gaze of the dolphin has been a defining aspect of the relationship between humans and dolphins, specifically with dolphins in captivity. Dolphins are watched in the entertainment setting, and people are often awed by their presence in captivity. By reverting this gaze, the animal is putting the human in its place, and the question arises: who is in captivity, the human or the dolphin? The fragmentation of the image is reflective of the fragmented perspective that stereotypes offer. The panels of each painting were executed individually rather than as a whole that was then divided. This aided in the fragmented effect that was created after the images were mounted to the wall, with a three inch separation between each panel. The negative space in between each panel created the illusion of a grid format. Of the two different types of grids that are formed, the bar grid creates the sensation that the dolphins are behind bars [Figure 12]; since the dolphins are surrounding the viewers, the viewer wonders whether it is the dolphin or the people who are in captivity. The effect that the dolphins are behind bars is similar to Audubon's personification of himself in the birds he creates; the bar grid puts the humans in the place of the dolphins. The human place themselves in the animal's environment, and with the dolphin's surrounding them, 24

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towering over them, the human gets an idea of what it would be like to be a dolphin in a tank surrounded by people. To enhance the sensation of being surrounded by the dolphins, the window grid [Figure 13] creates the illusion that the dolphins are peering in on the humans. This reflects Ford's technique of using animals as metaphors for human behavior. The sensation of the window grid creates a voyeuristic effect that mirrors the relationship humans have established with dolphins. By representing the dolphins as peering in on the humans, the animals are being used as a metaphor for the human tendency to objectify and idolize dolphins, watching them from a distance and creating a false perspective of the animal. The grid effect also creates a separation between the viewer and the animal, serving as a metaphor for the human view of animals as separate from them. The separation is enhanced by immersing the dolphins in water, in a world that is unfamiliar and different from the oxygen dominated world humans inhabit. The difference in elements evokes the sensation that the human is venturing into an unknown territory, and the underwater paintings help create this sensation by showing the dolphins completely underwater. Wyland's underwater paintings present the animals as docile and nurturing fashion, whereas my underwater pieces show the dolphin as confronting the viewer, challenging them [Figure 14]. Wyland shows the marine animals interacting with their environment while my series uses water to aid in the distortion of the image, which reflects the distorted perception humans have of the animals. For the underwater pieces, light refraction is depicted on the backs or faces of the dolphins to 25

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illustrate this effect as well as reflecting the dolphin near the surface of the water [Figure 15]. In the paintings where the dolphins are half in and half out of the water, the dolphins are presented as existing in two different environments [Figure 16]. For that reason, the dolphins appear more approachable, perhaps even passive. They are not confronting the viewer as much because they are entering ever so slightly into our environment. This is important because it aids in contradicting the dolphin stereotype as free and presents the animal as split between two worlds; this posture of the dolphin half in, half out of the water, gazing at the viewer, is a posture witnessed only with dolphins in captive settings. In these pieces, the color palette has subtle changes that illustrate where the water begins and where the dolphin breaks the surface. In a similar manner, color is used as a tool to illustrate the idea that dolphins are not one-dimensional animals. Watercolor was chosen as a medium because of the symbolic connection of the dolphins living in an aquatic world. It also helped slightly distort the image, further abstracting it, as well as creating a translucent, realistic appearance when used for painting water. By depicting each painting with a different color palette, it is clear that each dolphin is a unique animal and that these are not seven paintings of the same dolphin. Some paintings represent the dolphin in more neutral browns and mauves, while others use brighter oranges and yellows. By depicting each painting with its own color scheme, the dolphins stand out among each other. Conclusion 26

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While day to day actions of dolphins in captive environments may differ from the actions of dolphins who live in the wild, regardless of context, the dolphins are still wild animals. However, it is not by mistake that artists like Wyland do not represent dolphins as jumping through hula hoops. Perhaps it was my experience of working with dolphins in a captive environment that allowed me to develop a perception of them that was against the stereotype of the "free" dolphin. However, if I had worked with dolphins in the wild, while I might perceive them slightly different, my understanding of their behaviors, my observations of their unique personalities, and my moments of being awed by their intelligence would not have been as strong. Dolphins in the wild are naturally perceived as more idealized because they are free, and people find that this is something that they can relate to. While these stereotypes may influence conservation, they limit a true understanding of the creature because they present the animal as something that humans want them to be, rather then showing them how they really are. By presenting the dolphins as fragmented, with an inverted gaze and by creating a bar-like effect in the negative space of the separation, I attempting challenge the perspective the viewer has of the dolphin with the intention of showing that stereotypes do not offer the whole picture. 27

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[Figure 1] Robert Wyland, Florida's Living Reef, 1993, 52' x 45', acrylic on wall 28

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[Figure 2] Robert Wyland, Earth, the Blue Planet, 2009, 29' x 45', giclee on canvas 29

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[Figure 3] William Wegman, Photographer, 1998, 8"x 10", chromogeniu 30

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[Figure 4] Walton Ford, Tur 2007, 95"x 132", watercolor, gouache on paper 31

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[Figure 5] Walton Ford, Scipio and the Bear 2007, 59.5" x119.5", watercolor, gouache, pencil and ink on paper 32

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[Figure 6] Walton Ford, Chingado 1998, 60" x 119", watercolor, gouache, pencil and ink on paper 33

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[Figure 7] John James Audubon, Ruby-Throated Humming Bird ca. 1826-1836, 25" x 32", giclee on paper 34

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[Figure 8] John James Audubon, Cow-pen ca. 1826-1836, 28" x 58", giclee on paper 35

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[Figure 9] John James Audubon, Male Mallard ca. 1826-1836, 24" x 37", giclee on paper 36

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[Figure 10] Megan MacGregor, They call me Big Mama 2011, 40" x 40", watercolor on paper 37

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[Figure 11] Megan MacGregor, Watching you watch me watch you 2011, 19" x 95", watercolor on paper 38

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[Figure 12] Megan MacGregor, Inmate number 5436 2011, 34" x 48", watercolor on paper 39

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[Figure 13] Megan MacGregor, Stop staring, I'm not that beautiful 2011, 39" x 54", watercolor on paper 40

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[Figure 14] Megan MacGregor, Want to go for a swim? 2011, 34" x 54", watercolor on paper 41

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[Figure 15] Megan MacGregor, Apparently, they sometimes mistake me for a shark 2011, 18" x 54", watercolor on paper 42

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[Figure 16] Megan MacGregor, I'm a little broken up about it, 2011, 36" x 90", watercolor on paper 43

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Works Cited Enright, Robert. "Misadventures along the Nature Trail: an Interview with Walton Ford." Border Crossings 25.1 (2006): 22-37. Print. Feinstein, Roni. "Dogged Persistence." Art in America 95.5 (2007): 178-83. Print. Hirsch, Faye. "King of the Beasts." Art in America 96.9 (2008): 132-203. Print. Johnson, Mark M. "It's a Dog's Life: Photographs by William Wegman from the Polaroid Collection." Arts & Activities 137.5 (2005): 37-39. Print. McHugh, Susan. "Video Dog Star: William Wegman, Aesthetic Agency, and the Animal in Experimental Video Art." Society and Animals 9.3 (2001): 229-51. Print. Stevens, Mark. "Exhibit: William Wegman: Funny/Strange: Brooklyn Museum, N.Y." New York 39.11 (2006): 84. Print. Tomkins, Calvin. "Man and Beast." The New Yorker 84.46 (2009): 50. Print. Wechsler, Herman J. "Audubon's "Birds of America"." Parnassus 4.1 (1932): 18-19. Print. Obourn, Nick. "Call of the Wild." Art & Antiques 32.2 (2009): 68-75. Print. Boime, Albert. "John James Audubon: A Birdwatcher's Fanciful Flights." Art History 22.5 (1999): 728-55. Print. "Giant Wyland Painting Recreated with Fredrix Print Canvas at Disneynature's "Earth" Premiere." Art Business New 36.6 (2009): 12. Print. Mannheimer, S. "Thar, It Blows!" New Art Examiner 25 (1997/98): 76. Print 44

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Janik, V.M. Sayigh, L.S., Wells, R.S. "Signature whistle shape conveys identity information to Bottlenose dolphins." PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United Strates of America. 103.21 (2006): 8293-8297 Janik, V.M. "Acoustic Communication in Delphinids." Advances in the Study of Behaviors." 40 (2009): 123-157 45

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