Art Roundup: Whales


Whale art by Sarah Dennis, Amy Ruppel and Blaire Fontana, and Mark Brooks.

Whales hold a mystique in their alien familiarity that in the last fifty years drove campaigns to “save the whales” but in the past conflicted whalers. Behemoths from a world hostile to man, we know little of their lives. Majestic creatures that seem to dance as they erupt from the water, some species “sing” to each other in a language that eludes yet captivates us. Intelligent and curious animals, the brains of some whale species have spindle neurons similar to those in humans that control judgment, social behavior, and emotions. Many whale species live in pods and have strong family ties. Far-ranging nomads, whales migrate with the seasons. As recently as 2007, a 19th-century lance was found in a living whale, evincing their long lifespans.

Artists turn their wonder from whales into metaphoric and symbolic works that pulse with energy and emotion. Graffitti artist DALeast and Mark Brooks use energetic ribbons and paint spatters to portray the whales’ figures. Daniel Danger, Emek, DALeast, and Jens Harder capture the emotional power of a whale breaching from the sea. Sarah Dennis reminds us of their stately calm, while Barry Moser and Dan McCarthy draw from the battle for survival, showing their strength and scars. Enjoy ten pieces of whale art by nine artists.

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