Ursula West Minervini

Artist’s Statement:
My prints depict a primordial world populated by strange plants and animals. Human characters are often reduced to their most bestial; they exist in a state of self-absorption without self-awareness that I associate with animals. The landscape and the vegetation are an amalgamation of the Hudson Valley where I grew up, photographs from natural history books, and the work of artists including Henri Rousseau and the German Expressionist Otto Muller.

Because they disregard contemporary human society, these prints can be a means of escape from the rigors of daily life. They form a secluded space for aimless quietude or for magic and the unexpected. But, the dream is imperfect. Although I enjoy the fantasy, I cannot fully believe in a utopian “state of nature.” There is ugliness and brutality in nature, as in civilization. The conflict between an enticing fantasy and my distrust of it brings disharmony into my prints. I cannot allow them to be too lovely and idyllic. Plants become strange and overgrown. Figures are harshly proportioned. Ambiguous scenarios set up tension between alluring imagery and hints of sadness or subtle menace.