Unnatural Histories X
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Our tenth annual group exhibition. Artists are asked to depict mythical creatures from existing lore, or their own imagination, with reference to traditional natural history paintings, drawings and sculpture. The descriptions accompanying the works are penned by the artist.

Vasilisa Romanenko
Golden Rooster
16x20”, Acrylic on canvas
The golden rooster is a symbol of the sun, good fortune, and the passing of time. With his shrill morning crowing, he chases away the evil spirits of the night and welcomes the light of each new day. He is characterized as courageous and vigilant, a fierce protector of his home or village. A golden rooster placed atop of a roof or spire will point in the direction of an enemy and predict danger.

Brin Levinson
Dragon's Perch
23x12”, Oil on Panel
The Dragons are born covered in white feathers.
They often live together in large families.
They are known for their loud voices and their intelligence,
but mostly for their scorching blasts of fire.
Eventually the feathers become black, encrusted with ash.
Nearly invisible at night, these clever, curious creatures activities
have earned them a reputation as deadly pranksters.

Lindsey Carr
16"x24", Watercolour and 23 ct Gold Leaf
Ocypete (Swift Wing) was one of the three Harpies in Greek mythology. She was also known as Ocypode ("swift foot") or Ocythoe ("swift runner"). The Harpies were the daughters of the sea god Thaumas and the Oceanid Electra.
According to one story, the Harpies were chased by the Boreads. Though the swiftest of the trio, Ocypete became exhausted, landed on an island in the middle of the ocean and begged for mercy from the gods. In Greek and Roman mythology, the Harpies were creatures employed by the higher gods to carry out punishments for crimes.

Roos Van Der Vliet
15.74x23.62", Acrylics on canvas
Medusa was once one of three Gorgons, daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, sisters of the Graeae, Echidna, and Ladon – all dreadful and fearsome beasts from ancient Greece. A beautiful mortal, Medusa was the exception in the family, until she incurred the wrath of Athena fearful goddess, either due to her boastfulness or because of an ill-fated love affair with the god Poseidon. Transformed into a vicious monster with snakes for hair, she was killed by Perseus, who afterward used her still potent head as a weapon (gazing at her would turn men into stone), before throwing her into the sea.
Medusa now she roams the oceans for all eternity as a type of Jellyfish, the Medusozoa.
Medusozoans are a type of jellyfish, distinguished from other species by having a medusa stage in their often complex life cycle, a medusa typically being an umbrella-shaped body with stinging tentacles around the edge. The medusa is a free-swimming form; it moves by rhythmic muscular contractions of the bell, providing a slow propulsive action against the water. Touching her tentacles can kill you, and, if you’re in bad luck, gazing at her might still turn you to stone.

Amy Ruppel
12"x16", acrylic on wood panel
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and carbon absorbtion plus melting sea ice has provided more open water for plankton to grow in for longer amounts of time during the year.
Phytoplankton are absorbing more carbon year after year as new nutrients come into this ocean. Dramatic shifts in Arctic phytoplankton bloom are occuring, but a larger amount of food isn’t better if it comes at a time when the ecosystem’s other members aren’t able to eat it. Inversely, this carbon absorption also creates ocean acidification – which has its own set of devastating impacts on ocean life – especially plankton. A disastrous Catch 22.
So in the marine food web: Phytoplankton are eaten by zooplankton, which are eaten by small fish, which then are eaten by bigger fish and larger mammals, including human communities.
We are all connected. Phytoplankton are sending a clear message that big changes are now here, for all species.

Nikoo Bafti
11"x14", Acrylic gouache on wood panel
The Huma is an ancient mythical bird originating from Iran, who was said to fly eternally above the earth, never landing or coming to rest, and similarly to the later Phoenix, dying and rebirthing out it’s own flames every 100 years. It is said that those who catch a glimpse of the sacred Huma’s shadow will come into great fortune, and that killing one will bring death to the perpetrator in 40 days.

Larysa Bernhardt
Moth I
13.5"x12" (without antennae), antique silk tapestry, cotton velvet, Belgian linen
Larysa Bernhardt
Moth II
13.5"x12" (without antennae), antique silk tapestry, cotton velvet, Belgian linen
 Gold Brocade Moths, quite literally are what they eat.

Megan Buccere
The egret and the snake plant
12" Tondo, oils on panel
The snake plant and the green footed egret live deep in the swamps of Louisiana. Rarely ever seen, the two have evolved an extremely interesting symbiotic
relationship that is steeped in Louisiana Folklore. The Egret stands within the snake like carnivorous foliage of the plant, its green legs making it appear to almost float within. During the day the egret pokes around the waters edge eating small bugs and fish. When it comes across a crawfish the green footed egret feeds it to the snake like tendrils of the plant who voraciously snap up the meal. So what does the egret get out of this relationship you may ask? Well it all begins with the folklore of the Rougarou.
The Rougarou is a giant animal that, while having never been seen or captured on film until recently, was said to have the body of a human with the head of a wolf or rabid dog. Cajun folklore says the Rougarou hunts mostly women and children who happen to wander through the swamp. While this is true in a handful of cases, in reality it has been found that they are more afraid of humans than previously thought. They actually love hunting birds, especially the green footed egret.
Fortunately for our delicious bird the crawfish it feeds the snake plant contains proteins that turn into venom when metabolized. While the Rougarou approaches the green footed egret the snake plant entwines itself around the bird making it near impossible for the large creature to gain access without being bitten (and possibly killed) by this carnivorous plant.

Stephanie Inagaki
12"x12.75"( Frame size 15" x 16"), Charcoal, gold foil, washi paper
Inspired by the mythology and folklore of my Japanese heritage, I have created my own visual narrative to symbolize the creatures I draw as familiars. Familiars protect us, they are a part of who we essentially are, give us strength, and can help lead us to our ways. Sometimes they can be mischievous too. And throughout history, the creatures that I have portrayed have all had mystical qualities from shapeshifting, guiding the gods, to being gods themselves.
Kitsune are one of the most popular amongst these creatures and the more tails they have, the wiser they are. "Kamen" means "mask" in Japanese - we all wear masks for the public and even for ourselves. Do we keep building and creating more as we get older or learn to shed them to find our authentic selves?

Michele Melcher
The Kelpie's Secret
12"x16" in guilded wood frame (20.5"x 24.5"), Oil on panel
“A kelpie is a shape-changing aquatic spirit of Scottish legend. Its name may derive from the Scottish Gaelic words ‘cailpeach’ or ‘colpach’, meaning heifer or colt. Kelpies are said to haunt rivers and streams, usually in the shape of a horse.
But beware…these are malevolent spirits! The kelpie may appear as a tame pony beside a river. It is particularly attractive to children – but they should take care, for once on its back, its sticky magical hide will not allow them to dismount! Once trapped in this way, the kelpie will drag the child into the river and then eat him.
These water horses can also appear in human form. They may materialize as a beautiful young woman, hoping to lure young men to their death. Or they might take on the form of a hairy human lurking by the river, ready to jump out at unsuspecting travelers and crush them to death in a vice-like grip.
Kelpies can also use their magical powers to summon up a flood in order to sweep a traveller away to a watery grave.The sound of a kelpie’s tail entering the water is said to resemble that of thunder. And if you are passing by a river and hear an unearthly wailing or howling, take care: it could be a kelpie warning of an approaching storm.
But there is some good news: a kelpie has a weak spot – its bridle. Anyone who can get hold of a kelpie’s bridle will have command over it and any other kelpie. A captive kelpie is said to have the strength of at least 10 horses and the stamina of many more, and is highly prized. It is rumoured that the MacGregor clan have a kelpies bridle, passed down through the generations and said to have come from an ancestor who took it from a kelpie near Loch Slochd.
Courtesy of: Historic UK

Joe Vollan
Winston Franklin’s Last Run
TBD, Acrylic on Porch Panel
Description coming soon.

Neil M. Perry
A Capital Looming Over the Compelled
16"x16". Acrylic on Wood Panel
A distinct and specific Capital looms large over the lives of those who dwell within its domain. Despite going largely unnoticed, mostly absent a physical manifestation, it controls and compels their actions in every moment save for those few where they escape its haunting signal. Brief retreats into time spent indulging their personal desires and community activities are the only respite from the overwhelming imposition of its will.

Tripper Dungan
Curse of the lucky paw
15"x5.5", Acrylic on salvaged wood
No one is quite sure where the lucky paw originated, but it’s said to have been passed down many generations with this story: “Avis and Marleen grabbed their suitcases and patted their pockets making sure they had their train tickets as they were leaving the house for a long awaited honeymoon. Avis had been working such grueling hours they decided to get a jump on things they would take an overnight train to the coast. They were so in love and had to put off their honeymoon while Avis finished a research project at the university he worked at. Just as Marleen was reaching for the doorknob a long loud scraping sound came from the other side of the frosted glass on the door. Just then a harry arm smashed through and grabbed Marleen in an attempt to pull her through the door. She was a scrappy one and bit the beastly appendage at the elbow. She was desperately looking around for an improvised weapon when she saw the hatchet by the fireplace. There was a loud extended scream, one of pain but also of heartache. Avis reentered the room mouth agape with the tranquilizer gun he used to capture creatures for his experiments. His eye catches the gleam of the gemstone on the finger of the hairy disembodied paw his new wife now holds. With rage in her eyes and a sense of betrayal in her heart she uses the paw to point at the broken door. “Leave now”. Moments after he steps over the threshold a scream, not unlike the one heard earlier but not the same either, rings out leaving Marleen in a stagnant black sea of deafening silence holding a curious keepsake.

Alex Kuno
Night Bird Sets Out
8"x10". Oil on Linen and Panel
Description coming soon.

Michael McConnell
Rabbit and Crane
20"x16". Acrylic on Wood Panel
Rabbit has always dreamed of going to the moon, but try as he might, he simply cannot jump high enough. But one day, all of Rabbit’s hopes come true when his friend Crane offers to fly him there. On their journey up, Rabbit holds on so tight to Crane’s legs that by the time they reach the moon, Rabbit’s paws are bloody and Crane’s legs have stretched! After their journey, when Rabbit pats Crane on the head in thanks, he stains Crane’s feathers.

3rd Version
12"x16", Oils on Cradled Panel
The Cthulhu, a cosmic being worshipped by cultists in every timeline. They cheer and chant when it appears at every first introduction, but to their dismay the giant that resembles an octopus-dragon-human never manifests. Maybe one day this entity will have its time on stage.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft

Jeremy Nichols
What the F*** is Happening?
Acrylic on Wood Panel, 18"x24"