Past Exhibitions

"Domestic Wild" & "Debris"

Sept. 5 - Oct. 18, 2013

Domestic Wild

September 5 - October 18, 2013

Painters Kate Walker and Barbara Penn combine social awareness issues while engaging everyday sources for their works in Domestic Wild. Colleagues in the academic world, they both share a love of paint and painting, as well as work that grows on and off the wall. Their ideas using the animal world, germinated from a painting portfolio exchange called Animal Sign / Animal Mind, began a few years back. The portfolio by five women (from New Zealand, Chicago, Boise, Boulder and Tucson), culminated in showing selections from Animal Sign / Animal Mind in different countries, and ignited newer work by Walker and Penn for Domestic Wild.

Domestic Wild extends and stretches ideas from Animal Sign / Animal Mind into new arenas. There is renewed interest today in animals and their place in the current social cultural climate, especially in light of the growing ecological challenges that face us. As Penn and Walker compare “wild vs. domesticated” in a variety of ways, their metaphors parallel trends and conflicts in contemporary society.

Walker’s work references Macy’s Parade inflatable pop culture figures, which are then taken into unexpected scenarios. Larger than life familiar characters play out everyday street narratives about finding food, surveillance operations and comic disruption. These works offer a humorous, satirical critique on consumer culture, economic issues, and potential social disruption today. Images of fast food and candy reference our culture of excess, and the underside of this culture, in terms of consumer waste, poverty and threats to natural and home environments today.

Penn began with the personal loss of her beloved cat Birdie, and the work grew, paying homage to catness and the unconditional love our domesticated animals provide. Penn’s work uses poems or phrases from Emily Dickinson. Her images reference abandonment and illness of domesticated and wild creatures. Focusing on animal rights issues, Penn also alludes to parallel human rights issues. Included are health care issues in America, a wish for progressive change via governmental agencies, gender identity, as well as aging and Alzheimer’s, which can simultaneously make elderly life in our culture, both domestic and wild.


September 5 - October 18, 2013

A ceramic installation by Caroline Earley, assistant professor of art and Boise State University.