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Beauty in the Beasts: Animals and Art
Childs Gallery is pleased to present Beauty in the Beasts: Animals and Art, on view July 14 through September 10, 2022. The exhibition brings together paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and sculpture from historic and contemporary artists celebrating the beauty of animals both domesticated and wild.
The human fascination with animals and the desire to encapsulate them in art begins in prehistory, when the earliest artists painted wild game on rocks and caves in simplified forms that communicated an intimate knowledge of the creatures providing food, clothing, and other necessities. Since then, animals have continued to loom large within the art historical cannon, appearing throughout the centuries variously as religious symbols, scientific interests, prize-winning beasts, and beloved companion pets.
Beauty in the Beasts pulls from these many animal-centric genres with pieces spanning from the 19th to 21st centuries. Contemporary artists including Nancy Anderson, Amy Ross, and Karen Lee Sobol explore the breadth of the animal kingdom, from the pampered life of domesticated dogs to the untamed spirit of wild animals and the alien creatures inhabiting our embattled oceans.
Works by historic artists include soulful elephant lithographs by Henry Moore, a farmland scene with hens from Herbert Barnett, charming photographs of a scruffy black poodle and its owner by George Platt Lynes, and Clifton Tomson's stunning sporting portrait of Altisidora, a 19th century thoroughbred racehorse.
The exhibition additionally features work by Resa Blatman, Donald De Lue, Erik Desmazières, Walton Ford, Sawool Kim, Molly Luce, Anne Lyman Powers, Dudley Vaill Talcott, Carol Wax, and others. Beauty and the Beasts will be on view July 14 through September 10, 2022, with a dog-friendly opening reception Thursday, July 14, 4-8pm.
The exhibition has been organized in part to help recognize the important work done by the MSPCA (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The organization tirelessly advocates for the welfare of animals through adoption, low cost spay and neuter clinics, community outreach, and other programs. A percentage of the proceeds from Beauty in the Beasts will benefit the MSPCA, to assist in their ongoing efforts to promote and preserve the human-animal bond through socially conscious rescue, sheltering, and adoption.
Gallery Director and longtime MSPCA volunteer Kathryn Fields states, "We're all animal lovers at Childs Gallery. We frequently bring our dogs to work and welcome others who come in with their owners. Animal advocacy is therefore incredibly important to us, and we hope this exhibition, celebrating the varied beauty of the animal kingdom, inspires the same feeling of compassion in others. We put together Beauty in the Beasts as a showcase for the extraordinary breadth in point of view when considering animals as subjects of art, and in hopes of contributing to the MSPCA's work in animal welfare."