Kerry R. Thompson's work is both a celebratory and critical exploration of the delicate and highly complex natural biological systems of the world and the artificial human relationship to those systems. The work investigates the intricate interrelatedness of the inhabitants of various worldwide biomes, the formation of these systems through the naturally selective forces of evolution, and the human role as an orchestral agent acting on these systems from the outside, not within. Here the human capacities for ambition, hubris, arrogance, invention, and mimicry are explored in the attempt to replicate from the past or fine-tune the present.
Within the work, the artifice and sterility of the diorama tableau meets the dynamic cacophony of living systems connected by an invisible interdependence. Through the formation and maintenance of these systems, in both historical and current manifestations, the artificial human element orchestrates the natural world from afar.
The use of an economy of short hand, popularized in science illustration and diorama murals, meets traditional, venerated operatic compositional forms of art historical elements. The oil painting language of the artistic past recontextualizes the scientific and biological understanding of the natural world today. The work is a balancing act between opposing stylistic and conceptual reads: natural versus artificial, historical stylism versus contemporary biological understanding, all in the service of a “transcendent wonder” at the complexity and interconnectedness of the natural world and its tenuous relation to the human component.