The Human Animal, by Paula Barkmeier

We encourage our readers to use these Mid-Month Meditations as an opportunity to take a short break from everything else. Rather than treating these posts the way you would any other post, set aside 10 minutes someplace quiet and semi-private to have an experience. Take a minute to relax first. After looking at the art below, take a few minutes to let the experience sink in. If it feels right, leave a comment.

When I caught sight of the work of Paula Barkmeier at a recent art fair, I knew the HP community would be interested. Her human-animal hybrids suggest something many of us feel but can’t easily express: our essential oneness with nature.

But there is also a certain tension: beautiful as they are, these hybrids also feel alien, occasionally even monstrous. Can we ever fully accept our animal nature? – B. T. Newberg

Artist Statement

Within every one of us there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force of instinctual and creative being.  My work speaks of a longing for this wildness and ageless knowing deep in our cells. We humans suffer the loss of our instinctual selves through internal and external restraints. Our emotions, needs, and desires disappear. This disconnect from our inherent animal selves leads to our domination over and destruction of Mother Earth and her creatures, as well as our own illness on many levels.

The creatures inhabiting my installations are hybrids of real entities in nature and imaginary forms. Different perceptions of reality are questioned. Where do animal and human meet? Human and animal parts morph to form new species. Boundaries between the conscious and unconscious realms are blurred. One is invited to question the relationships between these creatures, and how they interact with us in our dreams, psyche, and everyday existence.

The Artist: Paula Barkmeier

Creating art was my true love as a child. As I grew older, I abandoned my art and went into medical studies. This eventually led me into alternative medicine. Soon before having children, I came back to my passion of art.

As a mother of two young boys, I have the opportunity to witness and absorb their wild animal energies. Motherhood has helped me to reconnect with my deeper instinctual self….the self that all humans contain, but which often times has been suppressed in order to be the “good little girl or boy” that we are taught to be.

I see this disconnect from our instinctual animal selves as ultimately leading to a disconnect from and destruction of Mother Earth and all her creatures. This stems from a belief that we humans are separate from nature.

In addition to being artist and mother, I am a practitioner of homeopathic medicine and Craniosacral Therapy. All of these practices inform one another in a rich and powerful way, keeping me awake to the subtleties and interconnections between all that exists.

My art studio is at the Casket Arts Building in Northeast Minneapolis. As a healing practitioner, I work out of my home in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood (Minneapolis). I look forward to sharing my work with many of you.

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