Elli Crocker


The Bestiary Series

Like the medieval Bestiary books of fantastic creatures, real-life animals have symbolic associations for us that may prevent our truly knowing them. These creatures are essentially strangers to us, despite the vast array of objective information to which we have access today and despite manipulation of them for various purposes. These animals—and their given names—evoke various human responses: repulsion, indifference, scorn, curiosity, enchantment, superiority, annoyance, etc. We ascribe their supposed characteristics to humans as we simultaneously anthropomorphize them in our narcissistic vision of alliance in the natural order. Referencing folklore, myth, religious constructs, and medieval bestiaries, I recognize universal, enduring responses to the mystery of our co-existence with other beings. These ancient antecedents assume new meaning when seen in the context of current cultural and ecological drams. I realize these animal images are not wholly naturalistic, but have a mystical component.