Adonna Khare is an American master carbon-pencil artist, who has gained recognition in recent years for her large scale, fantastical pencil drawings. Having been compared to the photo-realistic illustrations of Audubon, Khare’s works on paper place intricately rendered animals into strange and surreal settings. Khare speaks of her process saying, “I draw how one might sculpt,” as the realism of her creatures relies on the careful accumulation of countless layers of pencil line.(1)
Chimp with Skull delivers a powerful message through subtle means regarding environmental sustainability. Displaced from his natural habitat, the chimp drifts away along with the melting ice caps. The foreshadowing of a bleak future for the chimp’s species lay as a literal burden on the animal’s own head. The animals in these works appear as poignant symbols for modern human life and experience, often suggestive of the danger that our wildlife is facing today. Speaking of the environmental concerns embedded within her work Khare says, “My hope is that someone is affected by it and makes a change, even a small one.”(2)
In Khare’s work each hair, scale, and feather is finely rendered with masterful definition and care. Khare’s precise technique creates a convincing pictorial space, the reality of which is undone by the inclusion of objects and creatures that appear deeply out of place.
Teacups, pocket watches, skulls, and laundry lines all find themselves amongst Khares’s animal creations, which are hauntingly presented as half human, contorted or miniaturized. It is through such dichotomy of technique and subject that Khare formulates the strikingly surreal character of her drawings.
Khare received her formal arts training in California where she continues to live and work. In 2012 the artist was the winner of ArtPrize, the world’s most attended public art event. Her works are in numerous prestigious private and museum collections around the world and have been exhibited at Crystal Bridges Art Museum, Boise Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum amongst others.
(1) Adonna Khare, “Artist Statement.”
(2) “Adonna Khare: A Voice for the Wild”, Juxtapoz Magazine (February 10th, 2012), http://www.juxtapoz.com/news/magazine/adonna-khare-a-voice-for-the-wild/
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