Animals in modern societies are categorically defined by their usefulness to humans, such as animals as pets for human companionship, and domestic animals for human consumption. Pet animals are highly visible in society where the animals themselves are a part of family life. In stark contrast to pets, domestic animals such as cows, chickens, sheep and pigs are secured away from view in factory farms. These animals are predominately experienced as fragmented, lifeless bodies, known as rump, loin and rib.
Wendy Jane Sheppard has been Re-thinking the Animal through her large scale paintings on canvas. She has explored an alternative visual experience that contrasts the visible presence of the pet animal with the invisibility of the domestic animal. Pet animals are depicted as highly textured experiences of colour, where domestic animals are seen as a whole and recognizable form rather than the fragmented pieces that can be found in the deli.
Wendy Jane Sheppard has recently relocated to Melbourne after completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours degree at the University of South Australia in Adelaide. This is her first solo exhibition in Melbourne.