Bob Ziering has been drawing with an unwavering commitment for more than 30 years, producing an extended series of pastels that constitute a profound reflection on the nature and precarious situation of the mountain gorilla, a critically endangered species. A consummate draftsman, Ziering deploys line and shape with immense power and surety in his “Twilight of the Gorilla” series, conjuring images that are highly dramatic and exquisitely sensitive.
Instead of using realistic settings for his subjects, the artist places the primates in an indeterminate pictorial space so that they seem to exist as much in the world of the mind as in the mountains of Rwanda. Passages of intense descriptive rendering, often focusing on faces and hands, alternate with more open areas in which broad shapes dissolve into a misty, suggestive atmosphere. Silhouettes are often outlined in red, a color used to symbolize danger. Sections of the background sometimes glow with reds and oranges, intimating a broader threat of fire and destruction. Even in the quieter images, an atmosphere of brooding unease pervades the work, reinforced by massings of dark tones and a telling selection of shapes and expression.
Some of Ziering’s gorilla pastels are featured below, and more can be seen in the June 2015 issue of Pastel Journal, available at www.northlightshop.com in print and as a download.
Over My Shoulder (pastel) by Bob Ziering
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