Oakland’s Naming Gallery Presents ‘The Human Animal’ by Paedmorf & Roste

Seeing humans as their own version of a domestic animal, Paedmorf and Roste explore destruction, modern society, nature, and dogs, in their latest joint exhibition of drawings and photographs at Oakland’s Naming Gallery.

Leaving Oakland at the start of 2017, artists Paedmorf and Roste headed to Asia seeking a little space and freedom to create, draw, paint, and take photographs. However, instead of being introduced to limitless possibilities, they became encumbered by the gluttony of Western civilization from plastic waste to the inauguration of Donald Trump, and saw their new locale as in danger, as endangered, and frankly, left feeling disturbed by our own American lifestyles.

So, they turned to dogs. And why not? Seeing them as a connection to, and as a representation of the human experience, the dogs became a source of inspiration for the artists, who used them as a trope throughout their body of work.

According to the artists, “The idea [is] that the dog symbolizes our human version of the confusion of domestication while dealing with residual instincts. Like the dog, the cat, and other domesticated beasts we are caught in between.” Caught between nature and industry, human and animal, western and eastern, and a million other dichotomies. This body of work illuminates our complicated relationship to nature without trying to solve it for us.

As a space for community dialogue and creative expression, the Naming Gallery is the perfect home to such a show, seeking to ask questions, create discourse, and aesthetically stimulate—all while highlighting marginalized voices and prioritizing local, POC, non-binary and female perspectives in the arts.

So take a look, come see a few friendly faces, and maybe question your own relationship to waste and nature. If worse comes to absolute worse, I would bet there will be at least one dog will be there—and they’re always worth coming out for.

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Why did you choose to go to Asia and which countries did you visit? Was any of the work in the show created during your travels?
We chose to go to Asia because of the many unique cultures in such close proximity, you can get a motorcycle for a dollar a day and the food is incredible. We went to Vietnam, Indonesia (Java), Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan…in that weird order. We took a lot of the photo shoots abroad and developed the styles and subjects we are currently focused on.

Have you guys collaborated or shown work together before?
Yes, we are partners and we collaborate constantly, whether consciously or not.

Are the works in the show collaborative?
All of the photographs and some of the pieces are. Photos are a way for us to spontaneously collaborate using our surroundings.

Do either of you have a dog?
No dog of our own, we move around too much but are lucky to be constantly surrounded by sweet pup-pups.

It seems like you were struck by human destruction and turned to animals instead. Instead of destruction did you see them as inspiration for creation and innovation?
The gear towards domesticated animals comes from recognizing a familiarity in the human condition, which is often destructive to the natural world. Dogs retain some amount of natural instinct and animal brain while existing in man-made environments, a reflection of our own conflicted existence.

Oakland is full of destruction, displacement, and dogs. Do you feel a similar draw to your animalistic instincts here?
We lived in Oakland for years prior to this trip and it’s a huge part of our dialogue, our experiences here impacted every aspect of our work.

What’s next?
Barcelona! Then we have no idea.

Naming Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 10, 7-9pm
On view March 10th – April 6th