Fear is a primary emotion, an instinctive response, something both animals and humans experience. Fear of the unknown, or monstrous, or that which may cause harm, describes in part what lurks beneath the sea, exemplified by the figure of the great white shark: a creature that one rarely encounters but whose image and reputation have become synonymous with fear and death. In her recent series “Great White Fear,” Jana Euler turns the fearsome into the fearful in eight paintings of these menacing giants of the deep, which she humanizes by adding facial expressions of distress and panic. These sharks are captured at the moment when they breach out of the water, erect against a lowered horizon, with heavily altered mid-sections to emphasize their phallic presence.For this edition, Euler further stretched and mirrored these paintings of great white sharks through digital manipulation, so that the individual characteristics become even more extreme in their expressions. These eight individual images, with digital doubles, are arranged differently for each edition, which can be hung upright or upside down, depending on the preferred version of what is above the waterline and what is captured in the reflective surface. The mirrored backdrop puts us squarely in this world of fear. But shiny metal things (mirrors or not) are, of course, used for bait, to lure fish to their own unhappy end. Fear, the phallus, attraction, the narcissistic gaze – could there be a more arch description of the present?
Fine Art Pigment Print on photographic paper, PVC mirror foil, stapler needles, 45.5 x 85 cm, edition: 100 + 22 A.P., numbered and signed on the back, € 680.- plus shipping.