A twisted wire armature of the torso and legs of a coyote, a stuffed owl, tools, masks, and shelves stuffed with battered volumes of Capote, Dostoyevsky and Whitman, a painting of Bambi being attacked by a bird . . . there’s a lot to look at in Luke Knox’ studio, and it’s all fodder for his honors thesis project. An art major in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and member of the Honors College, Knox is using mythical animal archetypes to explore the relationship between civilization and nature. Under the guidance of honors faculty mentor Kristin Musgnug, he’s studying the way in which classical Greek and Latin animal myths have been expressed in artworks ranging from the ancient bronze sculpture Capitoline Wolf to the contemporary watercolors of Walton Ford. The scholarship of Joseph Campbell, Edith Hamilton, Robert Graves and Carl Jung will also inform his work.
“It’s been a long path to this project,” Knox told Kyle Kellams, news director of KUAF’s “Ozarks at Large” program. “I knew I was interested in the mythological aspect of human history, and animals too. It’s been a process of narrowing down – if you discuss one thing enough, you discuss many different things.”
Ultimately he plans to create a series of installation pieces, using both crafted and found objects, that will be displayed in SUGAR, the University of Arkansas Student Gallery, next fall.
Knox and Musgnug discussed their collaboration, and the value of art as a research tool, in an interview with Kyle Kellams that aired March 17, 2011 on KUAF 91.3’s “Ozarks at Large” program.