November 12, 2013 - January 12, 2014
This ongoing series in Shannon Partridge’s art practice explores a wide range of ideas and issues about human-animal relationships and takes aim at our ideas about what constitutes an ideal built environment, both for humans and for animals. The principle of “behavioural enrichment” is a tactic used in animal husbandry to enhance the lives of captive animals by introducing mental and physical stimuli to their otherwise static environments.
Partridge’s vivid and playful paintings of interior theatre are her own behavioural enrichment tactics, merging animals and zoo settings with mid-century modern interior design photographs. Wild animals appear as tamed, motionless and displaced within these dramatically staged environments, and the theatricality and artificiality of the subject matter is heightened by almost dizzying, Escher-like perspectives and viewpoints. In confronting us with disorienting and startling imagery, Partridge opens a conversation about how we metaphorically, mythically and socio-politically house both ourselves and domesticated, captive animals.
Using what she describes as layers of research, props, devices, and animal actors, Partridge presents the viewer with bright, stimulating environments faintly reminiscent of Matisse. We are naturally drawn into the parallels she is making.
Shannon Partridge was raised in Bracebridge (Muskoka), studied fine arts at Waterloo University, the Ontario College of Art and Design and the University of Ottawa, and now lives in Toronto. During her studies at Waterloo, she received the prestigious Shantz Internship, which allowed her to study in Belgium. The internship was an opportunity to work with internationally acclaimed artist Michael Borremans and to meet artists and curators in Belgian galleries. She has also been awarded various other residencies and her artwork has shown across Canada.