Belgian artist ROA (previously) just opened his first solo show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in NYC titled Metazoa. The new series of mixed media works feature the artist’s familiar black and white depictions of animals painted on various cabinet-like furniture pieces that can be opened or shifted to reveal anatomical details. ROA often chooses to depict animals native to where he is working, specifically species that have been forced from their native habitats and now live on the outskirts of urban areas. Here’s a comment about ROA’s decision to depict the beaver, New York’s state animal, via Jonathan LeVine:
ROA views the beaver, the state animal of New York, as a metaphor for the idea that nature has the ability to reclaim itself. The recovery of the beaver in New York City after it was previously thought extinct is exemplary of how humans and animals affect each other and reflects the artist’s interest in how animals evolve within urban landscapes. Wherever man settles, the desire to explore beyond the borders of survival leads to the extinction of species. This extermination due to mankind’s impact not only disrupts the natural balance but also leads to drastic cosmic changes, which ROA aims to convey by depicting the life, transience and carrion of animals.