The Monacelli Press | ISBN 9781580931182
Hardback – 328 pages
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At the intersection of science and art, documentary and fantasy, the beautiful and the grotesque lies the work of Alexis Rockman, whose meticulously rendered paintings fascinate, amuse, and alarm -- often simultaneously -- as they explore the relationship between humanity and nature. A native New Yorker who frequented the American Museum of Natural History as a boy, Rockman is inspired by botanical and zoological illustrations, as well as early-twentieth-century murals and dioramas. Yet his work goes beyond those genres to portray, with dark humour, a variety of mutated and mutant animals (such as square cows and featherless chickens), interspecies couplings, and macabre visions of a future world.
This richly illustrated volume is the first to offer a comprehensive overview of Rockman's oeuvre, from his early works, such as the fascinating yet disquieting Aviary, in which birds perch against a blood-red sky, to his more recent Expedition series, inspired by the artist's field studies in the rain forests of Brazil and Guyana. Important large-scale works, such as A Recent History of the World and Evolution, are reproduced as dramatic fold-out pages. Complementing the visual documentation of Rockman's work is commentary by the artist himself. Three incisive essays further elucidate the scientific and artistic influences on Rockman's art and show how, at the same time, he has broken with those traditions to create a unique, powerful, and at times haunting vision of the collision between humankind and the natural world.