I am so excited to share that this Saturday, February 10 is the opening of Remembering Animals: Rituals, Artifacts & Narratives in Contemporary Art at CSUN Art Galleries in Northridge, CA. The exhibition examines the ways in which contemporary artists contemplate and investigate aspects of animal death, from the very personal loss of a companion animal to the “invisible” animal deaths we are constantly surrounded by, including factory farmed and road-killed animals. Included in the show is a range of work by artists Steve Baker, Curtis Bartone, Joe Bautista, Linda Brant, Kathy High, Hyewon Keum, Sarah Perry, Julia Schlosser, Craig Stecyk, and myself. Visit the exhibition’s website, rememberinganimals.art to learn more.

In the exhibition catalog’s preface, curator Julia Schlosser writes: In this exhibition, we ask viewers to experience potentially difficult images of animals who have died and artworks made from their bodies. “Remembering Animals” hopes to create an intimate space where we can consider these artworks. Rather than turn away, we invite you to “bear witness” for a moment, and create an empathetic conduit with a non-human animal.

Animal death, like death in any form, is a challenging subject to encounter and embrace. Personally, many of us who have lived closely with pet or companion animals mourn their passing deeply. On a global level, non-human animal deaths exemplify many of the ways that we, as human animals, fall short in our efforts to manage our ecosystems and their inhabitants. From overwhelmingly large issues like factory farming, animal experimentation, and species extinction to the closer-to-home deaths of pets and road-killed animals, we’re all faced with difficult choices regarding our relationships with non-human animals every day. Jon Christensen points out that we live in “a world in which human agency is at once vast and ineffectual.” The nexus of our individual and collective decisions affects animals and the quality of their lives on the planet, whether we want them to or not. This exhibition examines the ways that artwork can and does speak not just about the animals themselves, but also about these larger issues.

In addition to the opening reception Saturday, February 10, 4-6 pm, Julia Schlosser will give a gallery talk on Monday, February 12, at 10 am, and Curtis Bartone will give an artist talk on Thursday, February 22, at 11 a.m. The exhibition is on view through March 17.

In conjunction with the exhibition is Julia Schlosser and Joe Bautista’s anilum: A Digital Candle-lighting Memorial Experience. With this web-based art piece, anyone can become a part of an online community celebrating the lives and mourning the loss of the animals that are important to us. As of this writing, there are 60 beautiful, touching contributions to the site (and one of my own, Candy.)

I am so looking forward to attending the exhibition opening this weekend and seeing the show, the gorgeous catalog created by Julia Schlosser, and anilum in person. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, go see this exhibition that’s sure to be incredible (and come say hi to me on Saturday!). I hope to share photos from the exhibition later this month.