Gaia’s Tiger Rabbit is a postmodern yin yang, harmonizing the opposing forces of an aggressive animal and a submissive animal. Tiger Rabbit unites dark and light, cold and warm, strong and weak in order to deflate the strictures set forth by contemporary Western culture. Gaia is reminding us that no thing is definitively one thing, as Western materialism promotes, but rather that everything in the universe oscillates between polar opposites.
Reclaiming traditional visual iconography, Gaia’s image transcends cultural literacy and achieves significance on multiple levels. Tiger Rabbit reflects the dynamic ebb and flow that permeates life, in which nothing is stagnant. Seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and they give rise to each other in turn. Contemporary urban culture devalues nature, but Gaia’s Tiger Rabbit invades the city of glass, steel and concrete with a breathtaking reminder of earth and life. The confrontational, full-frontal depiction of the hybrid animal implicates each passerby in the destruction of the relationship mankind once shared with both the natural and mystical worlds.
While members of Eastern society identify the tiger and the rabbit as archetypal symbols of annual transition, members of Western society would more readily associate tigers and rabbits with manufactured brands. Gaia emasculates Tony the Tiger and demonizes the Easter bunny, usurping the power vested in our familiar brands and materialistic ideals.
Tiger Rabbit is an animal in transition, seemingly changing before our eyes. But its original state and objective end are elusive. Is it a tiger transforming into a rabbit, or a rabbit transforming into a tiger? It is at once a tiger with bunny ears, a symbol of aggression turned benign, and a rabbit with the mug of a tiger, a symbol of submission turned fierce. Gaia’s ambiguity conflates multiple layers of meaning, presenting us with an image that seems familiar and simultaneously inexplicable, reflecting the inherent duality of our complex and ever-changing systems of political and social power.
'Tiger Rabbit' is available at maxwellcolette.com.