Painting with tar from the La Brea Tar Pits, James Griffith's work embodies the poet Gary Snyder's belief that "our place is part of what we are."

His paintings of animals are literally created with a fossil product of geologic time. Each work is an improvisation, allowing this primordial goo to puddle and pool on the surface of the panel into oozy organic abstractions. He then renders the details of each animal by incising into the tar, recalling as he says, another layer of history by referencing 19th century engravings of nature and the development of natural history studies.

The work conceptually comes full circle by implying that these animals, painted in tar, are threatened by a world dominated by the use of petrochemicals. Entitled Biophilia, or "love of life," the exhibition at Craig Krull Gallery reminds us, according to Griffith, that humans and animals are all "merely successful variations of their ancestors...causing us to question our social and biological hierarchies, our racisms and privileged positions."