Ellie Cook

Fire Ants 02, 2022

Oil on paper.
14” x 18”

Fire Ants 03, 2022

Oil on paper
14” x 18”

Artist Statement

The anthropocentric nature of society today has globally threatened insect diversity. The hope for my practice is to cultivate a connection between viewer and natural organisms which translates to their everyday life, even if in minuscule ways. Fragile communities everywhere are being challenged by global change. Supporting insect and animal conservation is one of the biggest issues at the forefront of sociopolitical belief today as numerous animals and insects are integral to the continuation of human life. The implementation of insect portraiture as an act of climate change resistance is wishful thinking. My hope is to generate fissures in anthropocentric ideals and beliefs as to incite support for wildlife conservation and decrease product consumption harmful toward the environment.

Painting a massive portrait of a cockroach allows my appreciation of a world seemingly
so far while igniting conversation regarding the overwhelming connotations this inherently
innocent and complex creature has been attributed. Portraits of bugs centered around their face
accredits them with their own kind of humanity and status. There is a confrontational aspect of
scale which hopes to mimic a bugs encounter with the face of a human. Exaggerating colors on
bugs accentuates the structure of their exoskeleton while also leaving room for playful
abstraction. The addition of various subjects to a piece works to convey a deep fascination as
well as admiration of the social cohesion and general intelligence of a body of insects, with a
particular focus on the commonly known ant. A visual study of insects permits for a study of
longevity, or an examination of the various evolutionary adaptations that have allowed these
incredible organisms to sustain one of the most remarkable lineages in history on earth. The
aesthetic medium of painting functions to influence the human relationship with the natural
environment by confronting the existing narrative of that relationship and why it exists as such.