Blood Rescue is a series of cave drawing from the 21st century. See them all here. Our relationship to the horse is iconic, embedded in our collective conscience since the beginning of time…
it is 20,000 years ago with our hunter/gatherer forebears in the French caves at Lascaux and Chauvet. Outside our big cave it’s ice-age cold. Inside, the Sage sings and dances. He draws the outline of a horse, on the cave wall. Light comes from oilstone lamps. He takes horse blood from yesterday’s kill and mixes it with ochre to make his paints. He renders what he sees. This night, we celebrate here, deep in the big cave, by the light of the lamps. There’s drumming, flute music, dancing, storytelling and fermented beverages. In the flickering light, the horses on the walls seem to move. We summon them, we honor their return to us, we feast on their flesh. We give thanks.
From that time on and for a long time, we continued to hunt the horse as a wild animal for food. Much later on the steppes of western Asia, we learned to ride the horse: At first as transportation; then for hunting; later to do battle; for work; and finally, for sport. By the time domesticated horses arrived in the British Isles, they had become our close companions and friends.
Today, ‘Horse person’ or no, at some level we share a common knowing. Our relationship to the horse is embedded in our identity as members of this human race. We resonate with these animals. They are our companions in life.
So the Blood Rescue images are 21st century cave drawings. Some explicitly reference the originals in Lascaux and Chauvet. Others allude to the mammalian organic and skeletal structure of the horse, identifying it as potential prey for carnivores and omnivores. Still others show the horse as a beast of wonder: Powerfully swift and mystical, inviting us to explore, re-imagine and re-create our own relationship to these beings.
The twenty-four horse models you see in Blood Rescue run free on a ranch in Middle Tennessee. Most of them are rescues from kill buyers who would ship them to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. The images themselves are over-photographed paintings. I draw and paint the backgrounds. In this practice, I usually mix horse blood with the paints I use. Then I overlay the paintings with lens-based materials, and then over-paint that. I make what I see.