Birds & Beasts of the British Countryside

c-type photographs hand painted in acrylic, 10 x 8 inches, 2023

A series of hand-coloured photographs of dead animals encountered during Daniel & Clara’s daily walks in the countryside. Each work is a uniquely painted c-type photograph with the name of the species along with place and date found inscribed in white india ink.
£500 + p&p

*Please check the number of the picture you’d like from the list below and include it in the order notes.

“Since we moved to the countryside in 2020, we often encounter dead animals during our walks, sometimes roadkill, sometimes the remains of another animal’s meal, and sometimes the body in an apparently pristine condition, the cause of death a mystery. These confrontations with death are always striking, we are drawn in to look while also feeling uncomfortable. Often it’s the closest we get to a wild animal, as it lies still in death and is no longer running in fear from humans.

We find ourselves reflecting on how the bodies often lie in positions which have aesthetic resonance, almost as if they’ve been posed for particularly poignant effect. The history of dead animals in art flickers through our minds, from the great hunting scenes of prehistoric cave paintings to the still lives of game popular in 18th-20th century, to Damien Hirst’s shark and sheep suspended in tanks of formaldehyde.

We have long felt a desire to paint, but being primarily lens-based artists it has taken us a long time to find a meaningful way to do so. In these pictures it came as a way to meditate on the images, to bring into the photograph (a static and mechanical record of death) a vitality of life while lived (the marks of our conscious living engagement, and our empathetic leap into the dead animal’s experience).

Seeing bodies in death like this it’s impossible not to feel in ourselves that we will also one day lie dead and decay. As much as we want that moment to be as far away from now as possible, it is also a natural part of life and seeing it happening around us, while it makes it no easier to accept, at least puts us on an equal plane with all living creatures. In this sense, these pictures are a diary of our confrontations with death - but seeing them all together, they also bring up the atmosphere of evidence files in a crime investigation, repeated deaths surrounding the same people, place and date inscribed, and raises the question, are we implicated in these deaths?”