Unleashed

Catherine Eaton Skinner, Author University of Washington Press $49.95 (91p) ISBN 978-0-295-98876-4
This full color, hand-stitched volume contains prints of 27 encaustic (wax-based) animal paintings from Seattle artist Skinner. Each piece focuses on a different species. ""Falcon,"" which appears on the cover, is arguably the strongest; against a black canvas, the subject appears in the lower right quadrant, looking over his shoulder to cast an unsettling gaze back at the viewer. Skinner experiments with different framing techniques throughout, focusing in on the eye of a raven and a horse, or setting a tiger's visage above his muddled reflection. Of the minimal text, Skinner contributes a preface less than 10 lines long (""If we listen to animals, together we may survive on this earth""); neither the foreword (an excerpt from Calvin Luther Martin's The Language of Wildness) or the afterword (from Woodland Park Zoo animal curator Dana Payne) speak directly to the work. Skinner's broad color palette and expressionistic brush strokes are inventive, the images themselves compelling and occasionally disturbing, but the overall effect is lacking; textual analysis or a more complete artist's statement would go a long way toward improving the volume's impact.
Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
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