Patrick Bulas, Megan Gnanasihamany, Gerri Harden & Trish Shwart

March 5 – April 18, 2014
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 5, 6 – 8:30 pm

Storytelling through the ages has utilized anthropomorphic animals to deliver cautionary tales to adults and children alike, instilling morals and ideals through folk and fairytales. Talking Creatures features the work of four artists who have adopted this narrative device to communicate the intricacies of human nature and behavior as well as ethics and shared narratives. In most cases their artworks further seek to highlight the human/ animal connection, the cross species bond and demonstrate the value that animals can bring to human wellbeing.

The mezzotints of Patrick Bulas create a world where his cat Lucy coexists, mimics and interacts with other animals in illusory encounters. Bulas cites that so often we identify ourselves with our pets and that the series is, in part, a reflection of his own life; allegories and metaphorical parallels to events he has experienced. Sentimental and humorous notions are described in such artistic detail that an odd sense of reality is present in the work. Bulas endeavors to provide an opportunity for viewers to bring their own experiences to the narratives, as well as highlight the life lessons that only pets can enlighten us to.

Megan Gnanasihamany creates a realm in which a version of herself coexists alongside a variety of creatures. Collectively they act out narratives from a plethora of sources that resonate for the artist. The installation works, that are an evolution from the tradition of collage, are shaped by narratives from popular culture, fairytales, religious and literary anecdotes. The artist cites that for her, ‘collage mimics memory’. The viewers’ perception of the work oscillates between their own associations to the imagery and the materials, concepts and ideas amassed by the artist.

Artist Gerri Harden’s thoughtful sculptural works voice deeply personal concerns and narratives. In a visual language that is both sentimental, whilst logical and powerful we witness freeze-frames from fictional yet, symbolic events, reconstructed with animal characters or toy-like figures. The poignancy captured is touching and at times disturbing. The power in these scenarios is in the fragility and vulnerability of the characters and our helplessness to save them.

Trish Shwart’s small-scale installation series The Dreamwalker’s Journey explores the illusion of materials. The work is informed by concepts such as mythology, the role of animals in society, as well as fantasy and dystopian literature. The story plays out in a sequence of dioramas following the plight of the protagonist Kai. We follow his quest to save his world, a journey that promotes each of us to reflect on our own lives and the challenges we face. Cut-up photographs, modelled elements as well as painted and drawn components situate the narrative in a shared environment, a complex adult world populated with childhood imagery and storybook characters.