Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination

One might think that because the summer break is here that I would have lots of time on my hands. Such is not the case. Now that school’s out for a couple of months, my friends know I won’t be called in to work so they all want to spend time with me, which has been wonderful! I enjoy going out for lunch and galavanting with them. Monday, a holiday for many since Canada Day landed on a Sunday this year, I went out with a couple of friends, something we have not done in a very long time. We spent the afternoon at The Country Porch, eating and chatting and catching up on each other’s news.

Tuesday was more of an all day thing – but what a day! I began with my usual monthly ‘10% Tuesday’ shop at IGA/Sobeys. I didn’t need as much this month, so managed to get out of there in less than an hour – a record for me, I think! Once the groceries were stashed in the appropriate places, I headed on over to Rampage Buddy’s house. We decided to do another WAG (Winnipeg Art GAllery) trip but first we stopped at the nearby Stella’s Cafe & Bakery  for a nosh. I’d been to one other Stella’s and found it rather noisy, almost too loud to carry on a civilized conversation. Maybe it was the time we arrived, about 10:45, but we had a lovely peaceful time and a mountain of food. I had a French Country Omelet with rosemary-fried potatoes and whole grain bread with their homemade fruit compote. (drool!) We could barely walk the half-block to the WAG after eating all that!

So, what does that have to do with Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination, you ask? I’m getting to that!

Along with what Rampage Buddy refers to as ‘remockable’ artwork (see photo on the right), there was one artist in particular that had created some absolutely astounding sculptures that were on display in the collection entitled Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination.(Check out the link to see what other bizarre stuff is in the collection besides what I have featured here.)

Patricia Piccinini‘s sculptures were, by far, the jewels in the crown. The first one we encountered was the one below of a little girl and some unusual ‘genetic mutations’. What fascinated us so much was how life-like the little girl appeared. I apologize that the photo does not do her justice. (I’m not all that sure I should have been taking pictures of the exhibit at all, but I’m sure I remember someone saying once that you could take pictures, as long as it wasn’t flash photography. If you want to see official and more complete photos, please check out her website, by clicking on her name.)

At first, I thought this was an actual little girl, one of those performance artists that can stay very still so you think they are a statue and then suddenly move to give their audience a heart attack! Such was not the case, here. Patricia (yes we are on a first name basis but don’t tell her that!) uses leather, acrylic and human hair to make her creations. Despite the bizarre nature of some of her creatures, they are so compelling and look so real you can almost imagine them breathing.

This Australian artist tells stories with her sculptures, describing futuristic worlds where baboon/human hybrids are genetically altered to be wet nurses and nannies. I did not capture this creature’s eyes, unfortunately. The sadness and long-suffering expression almost made me cry! Every hair was placed so perfectly, every wrinkle a landmark in the creature’s face and body. The backside even looks like a baboon’s butt, all red and wrinkly and the feet, hidden by the diaper bag, are ape-like with such realistic toenails I wanted to get down and give the old gal a pedicure!

The Hope Diamond of the collection was this little boy (below) and his sleeping manatee friend. Rampage Buddy says she could swear the thing actually took a breath as she watched it! When we commented to the Security Guard about how life-like the sculptures were, she smiled and said that the first day of the exhibit, she noticed this sculpture and rushed over, intent on telling the little boy he should not be touching the exhibits, when she realized, rather sheepishly, that the boy WAS the exhibit! We were so astonished at how much the boy’s hand resting on the manatees’ flipper seemed so much like an actual child’s hand. The baby finger was even a little splayed like a child’s would be. I am not sure whether the artist makes moulds of faces and hands from living children or whether she is just that GOOD! However she does it, we were totally impressed with her work.

For those living here or who will be visiting Winnipeg this summer, the exhibit is on until September 2nd. I highly recommend that a trip to the WAG be on your things-to-do list, even if you don’t bother with the other artwork on display. Patricia’s three sculptures alone are definitely worth the price of admission!

If you can’t see it in person, I hope this virtual tour will be enough. Maybe her exhibit will come to an art gallery near you, or you can visit her website. There are a lot more photos of these and other creations for you to marvel at and enjoy. 🙂

Our thoroughly entertaining afternoon was also spent strolling through other art exhibits, including Stephen Hutchings’ gorgeous landscapes entitled ‘Landscapes for the End of Time‘, which were not apocalyptic in the least. They looked like you could stroll onto the sun-dappled path or hear the river water in the distance as you gazed through the tree branches or expect to see a man pulling a wooden cart appear from over the hill.

Later, Rampage Buddy and I decided we needed a snack, so we wandered behind the gallery to ‘Dessert Sinsations Cafe‘, a tiny little restaurant with the most amazing desserts! This is another place I would highly recommend to anyone living or visiting Winnipeg. They also serve extraordinary meals and can even accommodate those who require gluten-free products. Needless to say, we did not need to have supper when we got home. 🙂

And that concludes my escapades this week. I think I’ll take it easy for the next couple of days and catch up on some blog reading – and maybe some house work, if I feel like it! 🙂

Have YOU been to an art gallery recently? What about a great restaurant? I’d love to hear about it!

16 comments on “Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination

  1. thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures. What a super exhibition, the mother and baby human hybrid one is my favourite. It’s nice that you are able to spend such wonderful trips with your friends, long may it continue – Diane

  2. Isn’t it crazy when something like summer arrives and we think we’re going to have some time to relax? Ha ha, the Universe replies. Loving looking at this post. I always enjoy visiting art exhibitions when I visit the cities, although can’t quote which one was a favorite!

  3. Whoa I thought that little girl was real! Amazing! 🙂
    I haven’t been to any art galleries or exhibitions for ages, with the exception of the Vivid festival in Sydney, which is a spectacular light show in and around the harbour there, including on the buildings, in the streets and even on the Opera House (though that one was a bit disappointing this year). But aside from that, I really need to go to more exhibitions I think!

  4. Although a lot of ‘art’ exhibits tend to be highly mockable, you do find a few gems. I was very impressed with Patricia Piccinini’s work, as you can see. She had an exhibit recently at the Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne but it ended in May. Since she’s from Australia, her work will most likely be shown there again. You should keep an eye out for her name. 🙂

  5. Thanks for you visit – waving back to Winnipeg, the city of opportunities. This year’s summer in the UK is the wettest ever. Only small windows of sunshine, and never dry enough to read in the hammock. Thank heavens for coffee 🙂
    And thanks for sharing the amazing sculptures and installations by Patricia Piccinini.
    … the beauty and the strangeness of nature … indeed. Her work effectively compels a shift in perception, and evokes a touching sense of vulnerability.

    • Sorry to hear it’s been so damp over there. We had a very wet spring – several weeks with rain every day, even if only for a portion of the day – but the summer so far has been quite hot with sunshine every day except one or two.

      I’m glad you like Patricia Piccinini’s work, too. 🙂

  6. Pingback: A few things which may interest you… | mywithershins

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