In the spring of 2000, a rough, unifinished, fiberglass hull of a cow was purchased from Udderly Art Inc. and donated to the Calgary Zoo by the Royal Bank Financial Group Foundation, for a charity auction.
The Calgary Zoo contracted Canadian Landscape and Portrait artist Herb Sellin to bring life to the cow. The artist created the cow's name "Zoo Moo2000.com", the glass gem design motif and the fundraising concepts as his Millennium Project. There are 18,578 glass gems and approximately 100 images on the cow's surface.
Calgary Abstract Expressionist artist Sharon Bentley assisted in the design application. The project was undertaken in her kitchen throughout the summer and fall months of 2000.
The Calgary Zoo purchased the cow out of the charity program and then presented it back tot the artist, Herb Sellin.
ZooMoo, royal queen of the cows, has the poise, glamour and charm to grace most any Palace or Kingly Courtyard. Though domesticated, her official robe represents the wild side of life. In her sophistication, she is the symbolic representation of humankind's highest aspirations for knowledge and scientific achievement by the year 2000. She is a dazzling reminder of our custodial, environmental responsibilities that come with our co-habitation with all living things on our fragile planet.
At first glance, ZooMoo appears impressonistic, like a Monet painting, made up of thousands of dancing gems, rich with supmtuous colour and design - a work of art. At second glance, with greater awareness and concentration, the designs, representing living creatures, begin to emerge as the mind organizes the colours into shapes. At third glance, the entire design surface appears to be covered with creatures.
The design is a metaphor for our natural world. As in the real world, if you are not aware of the creatures, then for you they do not exist. Once you recognize the creatures in the design, they become undeniably obvious.
The wild creature designs on ZooMoo are a metaphor for Scientists' present perspective of the Universe. The Universe appears to be chaotic in nature, however, when viewed in the light of a totally new paradigm of a new Unified Field Theory, it becomes incredibly ordered and undeniably obvious, just as the creature designs on ZooMoo's coat.
Hidden among the creatures is a most important design symbol representing this new paradigm called "300 Years Later, Principia II, The Specific Theory of Relativity, A Conceptual Outline". This Physics paper was written "from a visual artist's perspective", by Herb Sellin in 1986. The Abstract was published in "Physics in Canada", Theoretical Physics, Vol. 42, No.3, page 15, May 1985, and present at a Physics Congress, U of A, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in June 1986 (copyright 1986).
The ZooMoo2000 Millennium Project was carefully designed to blur the difference between the "Science of Art" and the "Art of Science". Symbolically they merge, as do Classical and Quantum Physics in the Specific Theory of Relativity. ZooMoo brings this new paradigm of the Universe into sharp focus.
Glass gems were chosed to symbolize the particle nature inherent in all matter. They represent the particle-wave duality of the nature of light. Glass gems also represent the bits and bytes of today's high-tech world. The light emanating from the coloured gems reflect the fiber optic world of high-speed communications
ZooMoo's coat of more than 50 different colours of gems represents genes. They symbolize the diversity of genetic building blocks inherent in all living things and show how we are all connected. The wild creature designs that appear on the surface of the cow are organized more or less as they are found in nature on our planet. Creatures from the ocean are positioned near the bottom, field animals are found on the sides, while birds and butterflies are found along the top and head of the cow.
The cow's tail, designed in the shape of a snake or cobra, acknowledges one of the greatest scientific achievements, the Human Genome Project, representing the complete "mapping" of all human genes. The diamond-shaped snake pattern, with its four pairs of varying sugar phosphate bases, symbolize the three billion variations of protein building blocks of genetic material possible in the double helix design of the DNA molecule. Since genes are inherent in all living things, the top of the snake shows an image of man, while the blossoms above and below signify plant life.
ZooMoo's left hind leg shows a rocket going to the moon, representing one of man's greatest achievements - our leaving this planet and visiting another heavenly body.
Among the gemstones on the cow's neck is a special one that reads, "A tribute to my mentor, Dr. Standford Perrott, former Head of the Alberta College of Art". As an artist and educator, Dr. Perrott taught thousands of students throughout his life to develop their greatest human resources: creative imagination, love of the cosmos of art and the vision to accomplish and realize their goals in art. Herb Sellin was a student of the late Dr. Perrott.
ZooMoo was designed to spark the creative imagination of children and adults alike, encouraging all of mankind to appreciate our natural world and the Universe.
To find out more about the artist Visit his web site at www.vaultproject.com