This installation offers an intimate look at how animal figures are imaginatively crafted drawing on selected family and regional traditions in Mexico. Ranging from familiar wildlife and domesticated species engaged in eccentric activities to wondrously whimsical beasts, the approximately forty works included in the exhibition highlight how varying artistic styles bring fantastic fauna to life.
An orchestra of miniature animalitos by the noted figural ceramist Teodora Blanco (1928-1980) of Atzompa, Oaxaca is juxtaposed with a selection of hoofed and winged acrobats posing in odd harmony by celebrated potter Herón Martínez Mendoza (1918–1990) of Acatlán de Osorio. Woodcarvers Arsenio Morales, Susano Morales, and Edilberto Cortes of Arrazola, Oaxaca contribute brightly colored critters patterned after those one might encounter in fields or streams, but likely not in Mexico. Moving from the fanciful to the ferocious, a series of otherworldly earthenware works from Ocumichu, Michoacan brings viewers face to face with a snarling two-headed dog and a ravenous six-legged fiend among other weird beings. And adding an even more fearsome touch to this menagerie are four sharp-fanged papier-mâché monsters or alebrijes by members of Mexico City’s renowned Linares family.
This exhibition is curated by Patrick A. Polk, Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Popular Arts, Fowler Museum. Support comes from the Donald B. Cordry Memorial Fund.