Ileana reached out to me about her work a couple of years ago and I have remembered it since. The bizarre setups, the blur of animals in motion or the funny positions in which they’re frozen, and the scenes that look like nothing more than simple snapshots until you realize there’s something so wacky and out of place all kept her series Animal Nature from slipping too far from my mind. I also enjoy Ileana’s statement about this body of images, which brings up something I don’t think I’ve read articulated very frequently in statements about animal-human art.

From the artist’s statement: I’m Mexican; I came to Massachusetts at the end of 2011, with my husband, our two dogs and our cat. In Mexico pets don’t live inside the house, and this new imposed way of living made me aware of the behavioral similarities between animals and humans. Soon enough I realized that besides adapting to a new environment I was also adapting to my peculiar gang. It is because of Rocco, Lola and Nina that I got interested in the relationship we have with animals. I’ve realized that we use them. We use them in very different aspects of our life, for companionship, for food, for entertainment, etc.

In this project, I stage images that talk about the animal-human interaction, mainly the one that I have with my pets and with the animals that are part of my everyday life. The use of humor is common in my language. I like to tell things as if they were jokes, but jokes that hide some truth. We think so high of ourselves as humans, but at the end, we are also animal kind.

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