" Judgment" by Nakisha VanderHoeven
From March 31, 2012, through May 26, 2012, True North Gallery presents “Rabbit! Rabbit! Art Inspired by Arctic Hares, Snowshoe Hares, and Magical, Mythical Rabbits,” a group exhibition featuring the work of Germaine Arnaktauyok, Juliana Boyd, Cathy DeLeRee, Tallmadge Doyle, Nancy Dudley, Catherine Hyde, Lynne Klemmer, Jess Lawrence, Kennan Masters, Wendy Morgan, Jackie Morris, Kristiana Pärn, Pits Qimirpiq, Patricia Reed, Nakisha VanderHoeven, Sarah Seabury Ward, and Nicholas Wilson.
“Rabbits and hares play important roles in the mythology of nearly every culture,” explains Belinda Recio, owner of True North Gallery. “They are archetypal symbols of fertility, regeneration, and ingenuity. They are associated with magic because we see them mostly at dawn and dusk—those border times when our eyes can play tricks on us. And, in many cultures, rabbits are trickster figures because people perceive them as paradoxical creatures—courageous, yet timid; clever, yet foolish; innocent, yet amorous Rabbits really engage our imaginations, and this is reflected in all the great art in Rabbit! Rabbit!”
The show, which takes its name from the folk belief that saying “Rabbit! Rabbit!” at the start of every month brings good luck, includes a variety of rabbit-inspired art by artists from far and wide. Inuit artist Pits Qimirpiq from Cape Dorset, Canada, has two stone sculptures in the show, both depicting dancing hares. Qimirpiq is known for his sense of humor and playfulness, which are reflected in the way he balances his hares in joyful, dancing poses.
Another piece from the far North is “Night and Day,” a striking aquatint etching by renowned Inuit artist Germaine Arnaktauyok. The etching is inspired by an Inuit legend relating to the creation of darkness and light. Arnaktauyok presents the raven, which represents day, with the light of the early sun behind it, and an arctic hare, which represents night, with a dark, starry background.
From a much warmer part of the world are rabbit fetish carvings by Zuni artists in New Mexico. Zuni artists carve little stone animals, known as “fetishes.” Each fetish animal has qualities (or “medicine”) that the owner admires and desires, such as the owl’s vision or the bear’s strength. For the Zuni, rabbit medicine is about reminding us that we need to face our fears and outwit those things that “prey” on us by using the talents we possess.
The show includes two watercolors by Jackie Morris, the well-known Welsh children’s book illustrator and author. “Over the Trees” and “Jackalope” both honor a mythical horned hare as he leaps through the night sky. A second piece that locates the hare in the heavens is “Lepus the Hare” by Tallmadge Doyle, a printmaker from Oregon. Created as part of Doyle’s “Celestial Menagerie” series, “Lepus” depicts the constellation of the same name, located just south of Orion.
"The Secret Field" by Catherine Hyde
Another UK artist, Catherine Hyde, has several pieces in the show. Hyde is well known for her intellectual and symbolic paintings, charged with atmospheric and iconic images. Hyde uses the archetypical hare as an emblem of wildness, fertility and the interconnectedness of life and landscape.
Local artists are represented in the show as well. There is a luminous cast glass rabbit called “Arctic Moon” by Sarah Seabury Ward of Newburyport. The sculpture calls to mind the icy landscape of arctic hares as well as the cross-cultural association between hares and the moon.
Lexington artist Lynne Klemmer has two paintings in the show, both from her “Inuit Influences” series. “Packing Doll: Hare” depicts an Inuit “packing doll,” which is a soft sculpture of an animal—in this case a hare—wearing a parka and carrying its young. The packing dolls reflect the way a child is “packed” in a mother’s amauti— a special parka devised with a pouch for carrying an infant or young child. Klemmer’s other panting, “Inuit Influences: color studies, Hare” was inspired by a hare sculpture created by Inuit artist Mark Kadyulik in 1959. Both paintings reflect Klemmer’s expressionist style as well as her deep appreciation for Inuit art.
“Packing Doll: Hare” by Lynne Klemmer
There’s much more. But then, whenever rabbits are concerned, there usually are. Visit True North from March 31, 2012, through May 26, 2012 to see the wonderful art in our Rabbit! Rabbit! show.
"Arctic Moon" by Sarah Seabury Ward