April 1, 2015 - May 3, 2015
image © Colleen Plumb
$1,800 unframed, $2,000 framed
Animals Are Outside Today and Thirty Times a Minute
In her photographic series Animals Are Outside Today, artist Colleen Plumb focuses on the complex relationship between humans and animals. As her quiet yet provoking color images illustrate, animals hold a unique place in the human imagination, although their lives are often dependent upon our desires to consume them, whether in the form of imagery, entertainment, or sustenance. It becomes clear as we look at the natural world through Plumb’s lens that although we share the same habitat, our understanding of and connection to animals has not come through benign coexistence with them, but instead through ownership.
Plumb’s video entitled Thirty Times a Minute will also be on display alongside Animals Are Outside Today. This eight-minute video features elephants in zoos throughout the United States. All of the elephants included in the piece exhibit stereotypic behavior known as “weaving,” which includes rhythmic rocking, swaying, swinging of the trunk, head bobbing, stepping back and forth, or pacing. The repetition of these movements, which are only exhibited by elephants in captivity, can lead to debilitating injuries to the animals’ feet and joints over time. According to the artist, circus owners have been know to tell visitors that elephants must sway as they sleep while standing in order to keep time with their heart rate of thirty beats per minute, hence the title of the video. By asking viewers to experience this behavior over and over again on screen, Plumb not only asks us to examine our relationship to animals in captivity, but she also invites us to consider our own implication as spectators.
Colleen Plumb is a photographer based in Chicago, Illinois. She earned a BFA in Visual Communication from Northern Illinois University and holds an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, where she is currently an adjunct faculty member. Plumb has exhibited nationally and internationally, with solo shows at the Union League Club and the Historic Water Tower Gallery in Chicago, Jen Bekman Gallery in New York, Dina Mitrani Gallery in Miami, and van Straaton Gallery in Denver. Plumb’s work is in the permanent collections at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Southeast Museum of Photography, among others. Her images have also been featured in Ireland’s Blow Photo Magazine, Photo District News, and on TIME’s LightBox and The New York Times LENS Blog. Radius Books published Plumb’s first monograph, Animals Are Outside Today, in 2011.