This drawing originated from an installation of the same name—an igloo made of glass and stone addressing the theme of shelter and the relation of humans to their environment. In the drawing Merz developed his figurewith a spiraling gesture that represents, he said, "the growth of matter beyond itself." Merz was interested in mythical, primordial animals, which he thought conveyed the animalistic nature of human beings as well as the humanity of animals. The identification of human beings with animals and vice versa is depicted in this figure through fragments reminiscent of the human body (ears and eyebrows) and the crouching position and heaviness of body evocative of a lion.
Gallery label from Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, April 22, 2009–January 4, 2010.