Ben Spier's paintings combine a wide range of reference to previous Western and non-Western art. As the artist has explained, with reference to this work: "I think one of the preoccupations of my art is the idea/experience of disjunction. Not only the bringing together of potentially contradictory source material, but also exploring the rupture between inner experience and outer representation. I love the idea that I can take a body that is absolutely burdened by a kind of overwhelming corporeality and yet simultaneously invest them with an empathetic, complex, perhaps even beautiful, inner-life. The idea for Whip came from seeing a photograph of a whippet which has a genetic aberration which leads to it having quadruple the muscle-mass of a normal whippet. The image was funny and poignant. On the one-hand the dog looked immensely powerful, and slightly frightening, on the other, this freakish deviation the template of Whippethood rendered the animal fundamentally wrong - like an octopus with tentacles so long that it is constantly tying itself in knots. The deviation from type seems to make the animal hyper-aesthetic, an object of scrutiny, and yet if one could just imagine what it feels like to be alive, and otherwise normal, but unable to conform to type, and thus signify normality."