“Migration of the “Seapirs” from Florida to Cuba”
Installation at the Alphons Gallery 2018
Ancient man created hybrid creatures. They used the best attributes of various animals to create a super creature. For example the Greek sphinx was an eagle, human, and lion. Stephanie Copoulos-Selle has combined the sea turtle and tapir to create a fantasy underwater creature called the “Seapir”. This installation depicts the creatures on an imaginary migration from Florida to Cuba. During their migration they travel through the “Starfish Narrows”, a Fishy Spring”, and the “Seamen Straights” (combination of seahorse and man). They continue through “Narth Valley” (combination Narwhal and moth) and finally reach “Lady Crab Reef” (ladybug and crab). Viewers are encouraged to walk inside and view the “Seapirs” progress on their journey.
Today we are still intrigued in the inventiveness of the combination animal. We are also interested in genetics because our inherited genes make us who we are. Throughout history, the genes we were born with were either lucky or unlucky; it was an uncontrollable process. Now, we are at a turning point in history. Today, genetic engineering is a reality. This advancement in science could create genetic hybrids.
“Look Here”, 2018
Look Here was a pilot project using the resources of the UW-Milwaukee, Golda Meir Library’s Resources to create an artwork. It was exhibited at Villa Terrace, in 2018. Later parts of the installation was exhibited at the Golda Meir Library, Special Collections.
Often we look at images of gardens, landscapes, and interiors and see flowers, trees, and furniture. Dogs can be a part of these images but they are often not the primary focus. Dogs are a usual part of life and often overlooked. Throughout art history we find images of dogs.
Dogs have a long history with humans. They were some of the first domesticated animals. They helped humans as guard dogs, shepherd dogs, and search dogs. However, from the earliest time dogs had a special bond with humans. During Copoulos-Selle’s research she found stories and images of loyalty, friendship, heroic deeds, and compassion of the pet dog. Some books were even written from the point of view of the dog, showing his grief for a dead owner or sympathy during times of loss.
Her plan was to do an animated movie showing dogs throughout history using art historical sources. The dogs “jump out” of their image and time period and run in packs thru other historic periods. Sometimes they remain in a different image and time. The movie begins in Ancient Greece and travels 2000 years ending in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Most of the images were found in the UW-M stacks of art history books, the online Milwaukee collection, and the Thomas Best Collection in Special Collections. The Best collection included books from the 1800’s thru modern. The early books contained exquisite linear drawing prints of dogs.
When one views dog images in books the sizes are relatively the same dimensions – one cannot discern the actual size of the dog depicted. The “Dog Wall” in the exhibit brings attention to this problem. All the dog images are the same size, six inches. While, the text of the breed’s name is printed in small to large font sizes. For example the Maltese text is a twelve point size and the Mastiff is 312 point size.
The Dog Frieze consists of relief prints of a rabbit and the dogs in the movie. After working with the dog images for over a year they took on personalities – they needed to leave the movie and join our world.