Vivarium, 2007 - 2010
This body of work became known as the Vivarium Series, because Vivarium is Latin for place of life or container of life. These transparent containers allow me to explore diverging environments and their inhabitants, by contrasting the contents inside with the surrounding space. I wanted the Vivarium Series to evolve in two directions: one with human children in open containers and one with dolls in closed containers. The open containers suggest vulnerability. Just because the children are currently protected, does not mean they are safe from harm. The interiors of these containers usually include a garden space, while the exterior environments suggesting toxic wastelands or altered climates. I wanted the children in these paintings to be young people I know, because this spoke to my fears about the environment these children will inherit. The inhabitants of the closed containers are trapped in an inhospitable environment, and the dolls serve as surrogates addressing the abuse and neglect of children.