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.”
For centuries, the wonders of the natural world have inspired artists to create fantasy, and since the Middle Ages, have applied legendary characteristics to animals. For the fourth year in a row, Antler Gallery in Portland has invited artists to join in this tradition of creating their own mythical creatures inspired by nature. “Unnatural Histories 4” will highlight whimsical new works 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, and more.
Studying mythology allows one to examine how the values of contemporary culture are transmitted through history. Tying a thread between past and present, Portland’s Antler Gallery invited a group of artists to create portraits inspired by mythical creatures for their third annual “Unnatural Histories” group show. Each piece is accompanied by a short story written by each artist relating their specific character’s tale. According to curators Neil M. Perry and Susannah Kelly, some artists reinterpreted existing myths while others took the opportunity for more inventive storytelling. Participating artists include Josh Keyes, Craww, Vanessa Foley, Michael Page, Hi-Fructose co-editor-in-chief Annie Owens, Siolo Thompson, Brin Levinson, Syd Bee, Jackie Avery, Crystal Morey, Susannah Kelly, Ben Kehoe, Neil M. Perry, Jennifer Parks, Jon MacNair, and Ryan Berkley. Take a look at our preview of the exhibition before it opens this evening.
Whether inciting a search for fantastic creatures of stunning beauty or mapping warnings of ungodly beasts of terrifying size, non-existant animals are deeply-rooted in the history of the human imagination. The second annual “Unnatural Histories” show will open on Thursday, September 26, in Antler’s newly expanded North Portland gallery. The show features Josh Keyes, Heiko Muller, Amy Ruppel, Katherine Brannock, Aaron Jasinski, Brin Levinson, Lisa Ericson, Susannah Kelly, Jennifer Parks, Keith Carter, Jon MacNair, Neil M. Perry, Bijijoo, Wes Younie and Rachel Sabin displaying paintings, drawings and illustrations of fictional creatures. Some imagined and some inspired by folklore, these fauna will transform the gallery into a miniature museum of made-up zoology when displayed next to one-another. Take a look at our preview of the show after the jump.
John Guy Petruzzi uses watercolor and acrylics on synthetic paper for his vivid explorations on ecological disaster. The vibrant pops across these scenes from the natural world may be intriguing, but they tell a story far more ugly. As fellow painters Lauren Marx and Tiffany Bozic explore the dire consequences of our actions in meditations on life and death, Petruzzi also adds to this conversation a clashing and blending of textures and materials.
Though several of Dan Lydersen’s oil paintings are contemporary in content, the engine that fuels these works consists of timeless bouts with spirituality, nature, and materiality. There’s a surreal quality some; a somber realism in others. Yet, in each piece, Lydersen’s knack for evoking introspection carries. The backdrops move between suburbia, rural America, and more scenic, wild settings in which the ordinary Western experience (like kids on a bounce house) is extracted and dispatched.