The Wolf Dream

In 1990 I had a dream.

I was in a clearing in a forest; it was quite still. A wolf walked by near to me. I could hear its breathing and the fall of its paws on the grass. The wolf began to run and disappeared into the forest. I tried to follow but I could not catch it.

A very tangible dream, perhaps loaded with symbolism, and apparently not an uncommon one of its type. I decided to make a painting as a result, I called it

‘The Wolf Dream’.

I don't have any clue why this particular dream happened but it has sparked a long term interest in the study of wolves in general.

In art, literature and film symbolism and allegory the many varied images of the wolf make it amongst the most widely represented of animals. Generally in western culture the wolf has traditionally represented wild savagery, rapacious greed or lust (this representation of uncontrolable male sexuality goes all the way back to the legend of Gilgamesh) and a threat to all. In some other cultures such as Roman, Viking, and Native American, the wolf can also represent strength and unity or brotherhood. The wolf was once the world’s most widespread predatory mammal. Now it is widely endangered and has been completely eradicated from many areas.

 

New Wolf, new dream.

Older representations of the wolf are persistently promulgated, not least by Hollywood eg:

Fargo; Lorne Malvo the "lone wolf" laying waste to civilised values until he is finished off by a righteous family man.

The Grey; Liam Neeson endeavours to survive the uncivilised ravages of "the wolf pack". He succumbs, we infer, due to a lack of weaponry. A photograph of his family in his hand.

So in Hollywood either in a group or individually the wolf represents a direct threat to the well being of the individual, the family and the state. No win for the wolf.

 

The newer and I feel more enlightened image of the wolf is based around the effort to conserve the ecological balance and diversity of last of the truly wild areas of the planet. This encompasses important and complex issues pertaining to symbolism and animals. Below is a link to some of my sources of reference. For my part I can only offer a redrawing of The Wolf Dream to reflect some ray of hope for the wild creatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a new digital re-drawing of The Wolf Dream.

An edition of fifty signed giclee prints on Hahnemuhle photorag paper.

24x58 inches (183x75 cms)  Unframed £300

The Fallen Man

Wolf

The Woodman and the Wolf 

Girl at the Forest edge