Beth Caverner Stichter
Everything about Beth Cavener Stichter’s work is exquisite, from the concepts to the energetic grace of her compositions. The deft gestural surfaces of her work demonstrate the fluid grace of her hands at work and echo the fluid grace of her animals. But of course there is a tension in that grace as well. It requires the muscular tension of a dancer in peak physical condition to make dramatic motion look effortless. But it’s not just physical tension that I’m talking about here. There is a psychological tension. Because her animals are not just animals. They are us. They remind us that we are animals and that more than 90% of what we do and how we act, our obsessions, our fears, desires and weaknesses, are not controlled by conscious thought, but are governed by millions of years of evolution. We are at the mercy of the animal within and no matter how much we may try to dress it up in the veneers of civilization we betray our origins every moment of every day with a tilt of the head, a gesture of the hand or a subtle shift of the eyes. And yet we seem to live in denial of all of this. Perhaps we must deny it. Perhaps the animal within requires us to constrain it with our rational cages (though it can and does escape whenever it really wants). The tension between out instinctive selves and our self-conscious selves and how it plays out in complex human behavior is the subject of her work. Though it can sometimes be grotesque or sorrowful, lonesome or bitter, it always moving, and it is always beautiful, because it is life.
You can see more of her work at her website: www.followtheblackrabbit.com
Or at Claire Oliver in New York City