Flightless by Suzy Gonzalez utilizes molding paste and blood on paper. I was immediately drawn to this piece due to its lack of color. Most of the other works in the gallery featured bright contrasting colors, but this was one of two pieces that strayed from the formula. Flightless depicts a bird-like creature with human features rooted to the earth. The focus seems to be on the human features and expressions the creature has. Although it has the body of a bird attempting to take flight, its human foot is stuck in the ground, and its human eyes look tired or pained. It is interesting how much easier it is to feel empathy for this creature by focusing on the human parts.
We discussed Gonzalez’s views on vegetarianism and her nature is featured prominently in her other work. To me, Flightless suggests that the bird’s human features are holding it back from doing what it was meant to do. The human features allow us to feel empathy for the creature as well. It would be more difficult to feel for the bird if it had normal features, but because we can relate to the facial expression, we understand it is struggling. I appreciate how Gonzalez attempts to connect humans to animals by pointing out their similarities in a way that is easily recognizable.