Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Wood Frogs and Me


I am impressed by cold-blooded creatures that have adapted to cool climates and the wood frog (Rana sylvatica), one of my favorite amphibians, is such a species.

The watercolor posted above features a wood frog, and is part of a series that I'm currently working on. Comprised of many small watercolor paintings tacked to a wall, the series is basically a bastardized taxonomy. In the picture below, you can see one wall of the series, whereby the various species and individual humans have been grouped according to behavior rather than biological type, physiology,or phylogeny. I hope to make viewers question anthropomorphism while at the same time poking fun at the inadequacy of our taxonomic systems.

Also, while we're on the subject of wood frogs, this short article in National Geographic discusses the ability that has allowed wood frogs to thrive in cold climates. Incredibly, they have mastered the delicate art of cryogenic freezing.



Image credits: Christopher Reiger, 2005

5 comments:

OGeorge said...

An artist has got to be a self-promoter in one way or another, shameless or not. Nice "animate" pose on the frog.

Post more HH!

Deborah said...

The paintings look great. I wish I could read them.

There's nothing wrong with pointing out behavioral convergent evolution between species.

I agree - post more!

Devo said...

I third the above motions! Great paintings! Mor is better. Frogs are so cool. I love the noises they make in the summer, near ponds and whatnot. That whistling ululating sound is hypnotic and enchanting. Kinda like fog.

As for alternative taxonomy, I think it's a great exercise. I'm always a big fan of rearranging conventional wisdom to expand consciousness and propose new ways of understanding your world. It seems to me that an artist has to more completely "own" his world in this sort of manner than a mere mortal would. We rely on you to (and the poets and the musicians) to help US build OUR worlds. If conventional wisdom is left to its own devices, it tends to ossify thought processes, and that spells danger for freedom of thought everywhere...

A good buddy of mine once painted a frog in a glass of Guinness Stout. Adaptibility, it seems, knows very few bounds...

blakisu said...

Really great paintings. Regarding alternative taxonomy, I just read an article in Discover about these two guys, I can't remember their names, who are pushing the phylocode system of naming things. I thought it was new, but doing a little more research, I think it's been around for a few years at least. Anyways, love the frog.

Hungry Hyaena said...

Yes, phylocode taxonomy is rapidly becoming accepted, resulting in all sorts of craziness. I can't even keep up with changes on the herpetology front, so I'd hate to be one of those responsible for coordinating the future "unitary" classification system.