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Artists Reimagine the Natural World for “Unnatural Histories IV” Group Show

Matt Linares "The Second Key Master"

Tattooed doves and pygmy giraffes, singing harpies and suited wolverines are now on display at Portland's Antler Gallery as part of "Unnatural Histories IV." The exhibition, as previously reported earlier this month, is the fourth edition of a major group show featuring work by 27 artists who merge human with animal to create fantastic creatures. Some are whimsical like Redd Walitzki's "Pygmy Mountain Giraffe," which the artist describes as being particularly fond of "salt water taffy left behind by careless tourists" and Morgaine Faye's "Wadjet," the Egyptian god and protector of kings and women in childbirth. To accompany her single rainbow winged bird, Faye wrote a poem detailing the omnipresence of her imagined "Protector of the Pharaohs."

Matt Linares “The Second Key Master”

Tattooed doves and pygmy giraffes, singing harpies and suited wolverines are now on display at Portland’s Antler Gallery as part of “Unnatural Histories IV.” The exhibition, as previously reported earlier this month, is the fourth edition of a major group show featuring work by 27 artists who merge human with animal to create fantastic creatures. Some are whimsical like Redd Walitzki’s “Pygmy Mountain Giraffe,” which the artist describes as being particularly fond of “salt water taffy left behind by careless tourists” and Morgaine Faye’s “Wadjet,” the Egyptian god and protector of kings and women in childbirth. To accompany her single rainbow winged bird, Faye wrote a poem detailing the omnipresence of her imagined “Protector of the Pharaohs.”

Other works, like Peter Gronquist’s trophy head deer fashioned with antlers metamorphosing into machine guns, are haunting, critical reflections of the human self and society. Jessica Joslin fashions a reptilian glass eye and grated silver to bone in the shape of a long-beaked bird. She uses velvet and glove leather to fasten the object to an antique brass door knob and names it “Guinevere,” a direct reference to the Medieval Welsh tale in which Queen Guinevere’s affair with Sir Lancelot and consequent betrayal of King Arthur, brought an end to the Round Table and the fall of Camelot. This reference is quite appropriate for the exhibition’s theme, as the mysteries of metamorphosis were particularly intriguing in the Middle Ages and reflected in the art and myths of the time period.

Joslin is not alone in applying the uniquely transferable quality of time to her artworks. For example, Aunia Kahn’s “Obscure Sorrow” places a 1950s pinup girl against the backdrop of a dystopian row of houses consumed by smoke, while Derek Nobb applies the format of a turn-of-the-century wanted poster in his “The Wolf of The West Woods.”

When viewed together, the artworks in “Unnatural Histories IV” presents a complete history of the world real and imagined.

“Unnatural Histories IV” will be on display at Antler Gallery in Portland until October 26. The show features new work by Lisa Ericson, Jeff P., Jon Mcnair, Erika Sanada, Josh Keyes, Peter Gronquist, Josie Morway, Brin Levinson, Jessica Joslin, Matt Linares, Aunia Kahn, Nicomi Nix Turner, Derek Nobbs, Juliana Swaney, Alex Louisa, Keith Carter, Jennifer Parks, Neil M. Perry, Morgaine Faye, Susannah Kelly, Siolo Thompson, Erich J. Moffit, Ben Kehoe, Hanna Jaeun, Amy Ruppel, Vanessa Foley, and Corey Urlacher.

Josie Morway “Esse est percipi”

Neil M. Perry “Rainbow Pythons”

Morgaine Fayne “Wadjet”

Jeff P. “Hydra Worm”

Peter Gronquist “Untitled”

Redd Walitzki “Pygmy Mountain Giraffe”

Jessica Joslin “Guinevere”

Erika Sanada “Guardian”

Jon MacNair “The Tarasque”

Susannah Kelly “The Amarok”

Jennifer Parks “Dreaming of Wicked Things”

Derek Nobbs “The Wolf of the West Woods”

Aunia Kahn “Obscure Sorrow”

Hanna Jaeun “Nure-Onna”

Alex Louisa “The Bunyip”

Corey Urlacher “Kresnik”

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