- Artist Rooms
With this work Hirst is forcing us to focus on the humble sheep, an animal that has been providing us with food and warmth for centuries, transforming it from the mundane into something special. Its title, ‘Away from the Flock’, is a term we associate with religion, specifically Christianity, – "to leave the flock" is to leave behind the protection of the church. Hirst draws on precedents in earlier British art. In a famous painting by Holman Hunt, called ‘Our English Coasts’ or ‘Strayed Sheep’ 1852, the pre-Raphaelite artist shows straying sheep putting themselves at danger on the cliffs of southern England – a clear reference to religious decay. Although obviously dead and pickled in formaldehyde, the sheep in Hirst’s work looks oblivious to its fate and seems to be prancing with life.