Pathetic Fallacy

Pathetic Fallacy is a collection of graphite drawings on layered mylar and large scale digitally composited photographs. The term “pathetic fallacy,” coined by John Ruskin in Modern Painters (1856), describes the treatment of inanimate objects and places as if they had human feelings, thoughts or sensations.

In this new group of photographs and drawings, nature takes on anthropomorphic characteristics. A new, uneasy equilibrium is created as human and animal bodies merge, trees grow hair and pump blood, flies multiply into tornadoes and wild dogs settle in the ruins of an abandoned home. Anthony Goicolea’s version of pathetic fallacy becomes an atmospheric elegy of passing time, transition, loss and decay. In a new hybridized world of man and nature, nothing is permanent and nothing is safe. Humans, plants and animals have cross-pollinated; they have merged, evolved and adopted different features from each other. Objects acquire pathos and empathy while the decomposition of material things reflects the world in flux.

Oftentimes we celebrate life with beautified images, but Goicolea portrays life as a riot of organic forms, each grasping for light and air with an almost violent greed. Nature is economical in the structures it uses: vascular forms repeat in bundles of nerves, blood vessels and rivers when seen from above. in his drawings Giocolea superimposes these forms, transitioning from one to the other in a seamless manner that casts an unflinching eye on anatomy.

Goicolea practices a nominal realism in his photography, but each scene gathers far-flung elements that generate subtle cognitive dissonances. As signs, these images generate a primary emotion, often sadness, loneliness or a sense of a lost past, but underneath them is a geographic surrealism, a nagging impression that these places do not really exist. Or that they exist in many places, though perhaps only in the imagination.