Commander of Frailties


Artist
Shawn Spencer (American, b. 1961)
Date
1998
Medium
Oil on board
Dimensions
Panel : 28 x 25 in. (71.12 x 63.5 cm)
Frame : 29 1/2 x 26 1/2 in. (74.93 x 67.31 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Richard '52 and Margaret '52 Kruizenga
Object Number
2012.5.6

Label
Boston-based Shawn Spencer paints mysterious, often surreal images of animals, birds and insects that encourage contemplation of humankind’s relationship with and place in the natural world. Her paintings appear to capture particular moments in time, resembling episodes from classical fables that have no clear narratives. This painting portrays a Commander butterfly lying back on its wings as if dead or wounded. The poignant combination of beauty and sadness suggests a metaphorical reading of the image as a commentary on the fragility of natural ecosystems and the potentially tragic consequences of damaging those ecosystems.

Object Type
Painting