Make tracks to Danks St! During Art Month, Stella Downer Fine Art will offer a wild experience as twelve exhibiting artists delight in all creatures great and small. From insects to elephants, animals have always been a beloved subject matter for artists. They are portrayed in anthropomorphic, domestic, mythological or symbolic iconography. Animal imagery has been explored in all mediums and the Zoologica creatures will feature in ceramics, drawings, glass, painting & sculpture. Zoologica reminds us that art and animals are connected by a common history of display. Just as art museums were born out of the practice of building royal collections of objects, in the past birds and animals were kept as diverting ornaments for the court in royal menageries. The term curator is still shared by keepers of animals and art. In this vein, RACHEL FAIRFAX and JUDY HOLDING see the decorative potential of birds.
FAIRFAX and HOLDING describe the world and its animal inhabitants in chiming colour and lively brushstrokes. Using wire to make three-dimensional line drawings, JOHN WRIGHT also delights in the exotic potentialities of the animal kingdom. In the golden ages of European genre painting, skilful artists specialised in animal subjects. VIOLA DOMINELLO, STEVE LOPES & TREVOR WEEKES continue this academic tradition.
DOMINELLO'S birds promenade across the canvas with contrasting airs of shyness and confidence, while the dogs exude the loyalty of faithful canine companions. WEEKES makes surreal portraits of primates and other beasts with scientific precision and an empathy that inspires humour, inventiveness and uncanny reality. Inspired by a residency at Taronga Zoo, LOPES' animal subjects have a powerful, human-like sentience.
JOY WARREN exhibited for many years and was well known as a potter and an art historian until her death in 2011. She draws on mythology and stylised figures of antiquity, especially the biblical tale of the Trojan Horse. By contrast, SHERRIE KNIPE is entirely concerned with the contemporary. KNIPE humorously interprets mass produced consumer objects in traditional sculptural materials such as carved wood. Here she conflates the rounded form of a purse with the fish bowl. For Japanese born artist MIKI KUBO, the fish is a classic oriental motif that has just as much relevance today.
KUBO creates exquisite hot blown and carved glass pieces that manifest her love of the animal kingdom. TANYA CHAITOW, LYNDA DRAPER and JACQUI HUDSON draw on the symbolic power of animal imagery to represent our deepest psychological impulses. In TANYA CHAITOW's narrative paintings and drawings the deer appears as an archetype of the self. In the tradition of folklore the world over, she adopts the anthropomorphic form to bestow animal qualities on human subjects.
DRAPER fashions ethereal sculptures from stoneware, using opaque white surfaces to evoke a sense of faded memories and nostalgia. Animal shapes and strange organic growths all appear across her oeuvre, blended into quirky configurations that beguile or repel. JACQUI HUDSON builds dainty small-scale ceramic assemblages from Icelandic porcelain. Tactile egg forms nestle into fragile towers, evoking feminine themes of nesting and nurturing.