Humanity (It's Not Always About You)

Mixed media drawing on pastel paper, Framed, 24″ x 27″
This mixed-media piece was designed specifically for Valley View at Stellar Gallery in April-May of 2014. The theme, trails, currents, and visions, focused on Yosemite Valley and the lands protected by the 1864 Grant Act and influences beyond the park boundary. I was living and working in the park during the government shutdown at the end of 1995, and it was suddenly closed to visitors. Although many employees remained in the park, the stillness at night was profound. Mountain lion and bear sightings grew closer and more frequent. Animals returned to fill the space vacated by humans. Combining my memory of this experience with my respect for animals, I created a piece that focused on the wild life of Yosemite, with some references to the landscape.

Animals are individual entities with their own right to exist. Every creature on Earth is an Earthling. We are all in this together. These images of the denizens of Yosemite NTPK are representations of themselves, not symbols or allegories of human emotion or experience. Flat sections of iconographic landscape are included to identify the scene and are less significant than the inhabitants of the area they represent. Consider a time when the world was forest and the forest was the world, and not a portion set aside to be saved from extinction by the massive overpopulation of the current dominant species: nor a tiny area constantly redecorated according to the dictates of fashion and funding. Humanity; it’s not always about you.
ManterBolen, ‘Valley View’

I’m frequently impressed by sculptures and paintings of rabbits, wolves, octopus, wildlife… only to read the artists’ explanation of how the images represent the individual, the self, the spirit guide, or express the artists’ emotions. Sometimes, they serve as allegories for human experience and nothing else. This drawing honors our fellow creatures who happen to inhabit an area we have designated as Yosemite. May they always be free and welcomed to live in this beautiful space.