Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Binary Bovine

Happy new year! Here is my first painting of 2018 I finished recently.

This painting was inspired by learning more about the history of domesticated cattle.

Two of the three biggest economies in the world (the United States and India), have cattle derivatives infused in their diets in opposing ways. India is the country with the most populous vegetarians, who flex Lacto-vegetarianism (dairy products are nourished, but not eggs or meat). In the United States (the second most meat consuming country in the world), both dairy and the animal itself are also eaten. 

What struck me was the contrasting treatment of the animal between these two cultures: while one has chosen to praise the animal for the gifts it's brought humanity, the other has chosen to enslave it.

Agriculture is the very thing that has allowed human beings to no longer be nomadic.  (Some Environmentalists would say that was the beginning of the end.) An omnivorous diet has long been customary to human existence and livestock practices were adopted shortly thereafter. So while consuming meat has historic longevity, it's a fastidious topic because the efforts required to satisfy our demand for it now are compromising our environment.    

 The cow apparition denotes the often incarcerated reality of the animal. The markings on the cow, common on North American breeds, take the form of the world's landmasses representing our global rapacious appetite for beef. 

Clarabelle cow in the image is dressed as a Hindu deity and represents an ahimsa path. In her upper left hand she holds a bitter melon and her other left hand retains mustard flower (common ingredients in Indian cuisine). 

General Mills' Hamburger Helper mascot arrives with no garment to revealing his raw meat appearance. He wields a devilish prong force feeding his hamburger itinerary. 

The popular burger chain mascot, Big Boy, sits under a shadow of fear at the sight of the ghostly cow above while undecided on the two paths he has been presented with. 

'The Binary Bovine'
acrylic on masonite
13.75" x 21.75" (19.25" x 27.25" including frame)
$ Available! (Contact me if you are interested)