Artwork > Oceana

Acrylic on Douglas fir
16” x 29” x 1"

Fishbender is a totemic visage of Falcon, a Humpback whale first sited on Stellwagen Bank in 1998. Depicted in the immediate foreground is a bait ball of herring, herded together in group consciousness.

An arms race has evolved between predator and prey. Schooling fish will pack together in spherical defense, alternating position between the vulnerable outlying layer and the safety of the inner nucleus. Such measures advanced with pressure from sharks, avians, and ambush carnivores.

Baleen whales have learned to manipulate this group dynamic, guiding fish together for singular feeding lunges. Aside from compacting prey with circular bubble nets, Humpback whales measure their encroachment, opening their mouths just upon contact to limit drag and reaction time of their quarry.