Patricia Traub, The Agriculturalist

Patricia Traub: The Agriculturalist (2005) Oil on canvas
The Agriculturalist
Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Gift of the artist, 2012
48 x 48 in.

Patricia Traub's The Agriculturalist presents an unsettling, symbolic confrontation between human and animal. Surrounded by an immense black sky, a youthful, Apollo-like nude faces a yearling cow. They seem to be standing on the edge of the world; Traub describes the platform as "our own precarious station onto which we are both inseparably connected.” The starkness of the man's nudity is provocative, suggesting sexuality, but also indifference. He stares forward, uninterested in the yearling. They share a tight space, but remain isolated in the universe. Has the "agriculturist” become detached from the Earth and the nurturing of livestock, or is he too young to comprehend his responsibility? His feet and hands are darker than the rest of his body, as if tanned from working in the sun. We may wonder if he is as innocent as the beautiful yearling before him.

Patricia Traub is a graduate of York Academy of Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), where she has taught since 1988. Traub studied figure drawing at Atelier La Grande Chaumiére in France. At PAFA, she is credited with revitalizing the traditional practice of animal painting. She has taught painting at Moore College of Art & Design, Chester Springs Studios, and th Wayne Art Center. Her interest in animal painting and conservation led to studies in zoology and taxonomy at the University of Pennsylvania and ornithology at Cornell, as well as work on an orangutan project with primatologist Dr. Biruté Galdikas at Camp Leakey, Indonesia.

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