Beauty In The Beast – Animals as Objects & Art
Still on display....
We humans share a living planet called Earth. Aristotle divided this living world into plants and animals: animals as diverse as sponges, insects and humans. Derived from the Latin "animalis," the term means having breath or spirit. Since their earliest development, humans have been making images of their fellow animals in every conceivable material, from bone to steel and everything in between.
This extensive exhibit explores animals, birds, insects, fish as they are expressed by man-made objects. From ancient Egyptian carvings to contemporary Canadian sculpture, the artifacts explore how we have depicted the creatures that we have used, worshipped or despised. There are literally thousands of animals in this exhibit represented in such diverse media as folk art, hooked rugs, sculpture, decoys, fine paintings and even butter moulds.
The images of animals created by humans are as complex as the relationships between the two. As humans, we have set ourselves apart from our fellow beasts. Humans have worshipped some animals as gods and have cursed others by imagining them to be malevolent allegorical creatures. Humans have believed animals to be magical and yet have domesticated them into the mundane. The artifacts and art on display represent these relationships. Animal effigies and native Inuit carvings share space with pastoral paintings of work horses and grazing cows. The docile lamb is on exhibit next to the roaring lion. Trade silver adorned with Canadian Beaver are shown with coptic doves woven into delicate silk designs.
Each case holds memories of animals from our present and our past: faithful "four legged friends" and family pets, animals from our first science class or frightening beasts from childhood fairy tales. The Dufferin County Museum & Archives hopes that our visitors to our 2012 main exhibit will appreciate the diversity of the animals in the art, the inventiveness of their creators; the inspiration that animals have provided, the artistic expression it generated.
Find beauty in the beast!
Canadian artists represented include Horatio Walker, George Reid, Albert Henry Robinson, Robert Wylie, Lindee Climo, Berthe des Clayes and Manley McDonald. Historic English artists include Sir John Fredrick Herring and Frederick E. Holt. Sculptors include Marina Fricke, Adrian Sorrell, E. B. Cox, Clifford Neil and Gary Williams. Objects such as an English pigeon decoy, Dawes Brewery plaster cast Black Horse, American 1880 copper grasshopper weather vane, Venetian perfume bottles are among the precious items on display. Historic materials include an Egyptian brass cat, dated 200-210 B.C., a Roman Bronze Eagle standard finial, 2nd century BC, 3rd and 4th century Netsuke from Japan. Canadian Folk artists including William Long, Robert Danielis and Jean Yves Bouchard have works in the collection, and also featured are engravings by George Braque and George Edwards, printed from 1745 to 1756.