Artwork > Oceana

Acrylic on poplar
35” x 11 1/2” x 3/4”

The Humpback whale has a physique ideal for carving the the tension of current and the hurdles of swell, but a close gander at their sleek morphology reveals an armour riddled in scars.

Abrasions from the barnacles of contending males, scratches from the seafloor sediment, and rakemarks from the teeth of the orca are some citations to the whale's secret illiad of trials.

Trident and the Humpback whales of the Hawaiian mating grounds contend with another antagonist: the fabled Cookiecutter shark! This predator schools together in the ocean depths and ascends nearly 2 miles to seek larger prey in the daytime.

Humpback whales and other pelagic mammals bear circular scars from these deep dwelling derelicts; interactions that are not fatal but surely memorable. The shark uses suctoral lips to adhere to the whale's skin, and excises a neat chunk with its bandsaw-like set of lower teeth.

A small predator measuring 42-56 cm is all the more imposing small as the sharks swarm upon their target. Photophore organs on their undersides produce a luminous camouflage against the pale light above while dark bands on the lower jaw mimic the shape of fish; a predator seeking smaller quarry from below is recast as sustenance for another like mind!