“Creature Feature: Animal Art” Exhibition Brings Warm Fuzzies

Creature Feature: Animal Art
April 6 – June 29, 2018
Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery, 3rd Floor

How long have artists been making art about animals? Over 40,000 years!

Detail of Jeffry Mitchell’s “Petit Nature Morte (sic)”

There’s nothing in the city’s collection that far back, but we do have a variety of artworks that include various creatures both real and imagined. Creature Feature: Animal Art includes 23 artworks by 22 artists in a range of mediums, from tiny prints to large sculptures.

Detail of Shelley Moore’s “Ramona and Otis Watch the Insects”

Many of the animals found in Creature Feature are based in reality but a few artists reference mythology or create something new. Cappy Thompson’s painting on glass, Sophia and the Animals, depicts a woman surrounded by animals, a few of which don’t exist in nature. Owl Woman by Caroline Orr references stories passed down by her Native American ancestors via her grandparents. Dean Wong captures a child’s wonder at dragon’s heads lined up on the sidewalk in his photograph from 1993, Michael #11. There are even some Martians created by Susan Nininger and documented in photographs by Sharon Beals and William Murray.

Detail from Dean Wong’s “Michael (#11)”

Back on Earth, Grace Weston creates and photographs humorous scenes, as in her Plume vs. Plume depicting birds watching an atomic blast. Clair Colquitt’s Turista Radio combines kitsch, West Coast funk, parrots and National Public Radio in a bright ceramic package. Man’s best friend, in this case Harold Hoy’s Erector Yorkshire, is made completely out of galvanized steel tape and screws.

Detail from Blair Wilson’s “Crumbs”

Speaking of dogs, they are well represented from William Johnson’s abstracted drawing, Untitled (Running Dog) to Sherry Markovitz’s more realistic painting, One Black, One White to Cheryl Comstock’s two fantastical pieces, April Fools I & II, which include not only canines but cats, birds, humans and even a few bugs.

Northwest fauna is represented in Jimmy Jet’s City Suite lithograph in the form of an Orca, Tom Askman’s charcoal drawing of a bivalve in Clam Destiny/Clam Chowder and we get slugs and salmon, loathed and loved respectively, in Patrick Anderson’s linocut, Geography of Washington State, Vol. 2.

From 16 birds to 2 turtles and all the creatures in between, please enjoy this show curated from the Portable Works collection.