World of Wolf Pack: Amy Ross at the Kopeikin Gallery
"For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack." Rudyard Kipling said this in The Law of the Jungle and when viewing Amy Ross’ solo show at the Kopeikin Gallery in Culver City, my mind kept coming back to this quote. And as the release of The Hangover, gave “wolf pack” a new meaning, the power of the pack remains. - Ellen Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor
Artist Amy Ross explores another side of a wolf pack... anthropomorphic wolves, wolf policemen, and wolves in their natural element interact in her current show, and the images are at times melancholic, haunting, and disturbing while somehow also being playful, magical, and inspiring.
The colors in Ross’ watercolors are subdued, and the first wall of images feature images of wolves cuddled in piles, or interacting in the wild, reminiscent of prints from a natural science store. But slowly, Ross introduces human elements to the wolves—not only with anthropomorphic human features, but also with human tools, vehicles, and dress from daily life. One creature shares a wolf's head with a man's body and rows a boat, another holds up a head of cabbage as if a bridesmaid holding a bouquet and posing for a portrait.
By the third wall, the wolves take a more dramatic turn. Donning bulletproof vests and rifles, they shoot in target practice, howl at copters overhead, and stare dead on at the camera with a ballsy, machismo stare that is cold and intimidating.
Whether Ross’ series “Lone Wolf” speaks to the violence of men, or foresees a nature-driven post-environmental-degradation retaliation, I am not entirely sure. The fact that numerous U.S. military units and squadrons have donned the nickname “Wolfpack” might be beside the point, but there seems to be something there. And regardless, Ross’ works most certainly speak to Kipling’s quote about the power of and reliance upon the pack, and more largely to the delicate balance of interdependency found in nature.
Ross' wolves are delicately painted, with soft and subtle strokes on a soft white paper. The warm gallery lights highlight and direct you to the hallway featuring her work, creating a private nook encapsulating the world of the lone wolf. This space she creates is at once mystical and mythical, and while it left me unsure of what exactly was taking place, it also left me wanting more—wanting to study them more, to know more about them, and to see more of her wolf pack world.
Ellen C. Caldwell is an LA-based art historian, editor, and writer.