In Sean Landers’ North American Mammals series, wild animals take on colorful plaid patterns, lending a debonair twist to the natural world. The paintings depict animals alone in their habitats against rather drab backgrounds, and the plain surroundings allow details such as soft halos of fur to stand out. The Scottish tartan patterns contour to the animals’ bodies and movement, creating a distinct sense of shape and motion.
Although simple and charming on first impression, Landers’ work is also supported by a deep undercurrent of philosophy. He likes to present animals as symbols, and sometimes he even puts plays on words into his paintings. For instance, “Landers’s tartan patterns contain a visual metonymic phrase of ‘to coat,'” says the artist’s press release. “The phrase can be used as to ‘apply a coat of paint’ as much as it refers to the natural fur of an animal. Thus, through the hand of the artist, each animal receives a freshly painted coat of fur.”
The series is currently on display at Friedrich Petzel gallery in New York City.