Artist Talk: Friday, January 11 at 5:30pm Opening Reception: Friday, January 11 from 6 – 8pm Exhibition Runs: January 7 – 24, 2019
Like us, rats are intelligent social creatures capable of empathetic and selfless behaviors; in psychological experiments, they sacrifice highly-valued rewards to allay the fear and suffering of their fellow rat. Because they have evolved alongside of us for thousands of years, they also carry and transmit human diseases. These characteristics make them an ideal model for biological and social experiments designed to improve our lives, but also make them symbols of fear and disdain. Reflecting the best and worst of us and within us, rats become symbols of both the sacred and the profane. With this work, I ask the viewer to reflect on the similarities between us and rats and to use them to help us understand what we value and revile in one another.

About the Artist

Jessica Marie Gross is a visual artist and anthropologist. Her curiosity in humans and the fundamental underpinnings of our attitudes and behavior toward each other and our surroundings drives both her scientific research and her visual work. She uses sculpture, photography and print to create imagined scenes that highlight our ideas about each other and the natural world. She has a BFA in studio art, an MA and an MS in anthropology, and is currently finishing a PhD in anthropology. She has shown her work in galleries in Colorado, New Mexico, and New York. “More than any other species, we control the physical environment in which we live. We include plants and animals in our lives but only in the limited ways that we dictate. We surround ourselves with manicured landscapes and domesticated pets, while we destroy fragile ecosystems and drive untold numbers of species to extinction. When we benefit from nature, we embrace it; when it encroaches on our comfort, we destroy it. Using photography, sculpture, and print, my work captures the concomitant exploitation and destruction of the natural world and uses it as a metaphor for our treatment of one another.” – Jessica Gross