In the history of art, animals were the very first subject, as evidenced by the nearly 20,000 year old cave paintings at Lascaux. The human impulse to depict and capture the essence of animals underscores the importance of animals to human lives. For some artists, the evolutionary link between humans and other mammals is most compelling, and their choice of mammals as subject speaks to each artist's personal concerns. From traditional works to the fantastical, from sporting art to kitsch, the nearly 100 U.S. and international artists included hope to combine their own magic with the natural spirit of animals in their work. Over 500 of their pieces are represented here in stunning, full-color photographs. This elegant collection honors the artistic connection and age-old totemic relationship between animal and human. Herein lies the conversation between the spirit of the animal and the mind of the maker.
Barbara Purchia and E. Ashley Rooney's previous books include Contemporary Sand Sculpture. Rooney specializes in contemporary art and architecture and has authored more than 50 books. Purchia is a stained glassartist. As coauthors, they offer complementary experiences and perspectives.