Humanimal, Portsmouth MFA

This is a really interesting show, and I recommend that everyone go see it. The whole theme is relating humans to animals, and the walls are scattered with quotes about our relationship with them. Some images are humans and animals interacting, some are of humans and animals morphed into one being, and others are just of animals. It was a pretty wide span of media used including paintings, videos, installations, sculpture, photographs, etc.

Probably the most disturbing piece in the show was one from Lauren Dresher, the following image is not one from the actual show, but the installation is the same.

Shadowland Installation, Lauren Dresher

When I walked into this room, there was a laptop on the ground playing eerie music and the pieces were moving ever so slightly. It was the creepiest thing, I actually got goosebumps on my arms.

Jill Greenberg was actually an artist we talked about towards the end of our class, she photographed the crying children. She was included in the exhibit with her monkey portraits. This image was not included in the show but I found it, along with many others on her website : These images went along with a quote saying that we share over 99% of our DNA with primates.

Monkey Portraits, Jill Greenberg

Irene Hardwicke Olivieri’s work caught my eye because it is Frida Kahlo-ish. She can be found at

Patricia Piccinini’s work was included in the show, I did not know who she was until I googled her to look for her images from the show ( She did the We are Family sculptures that have been in many of my art textbooks.

We are Family, Patricia Piccinini

And finally, my favorite piece from the show was definitely the blue elephant painting by Ivette Zighelboim. I was unsure if the elephant was dead or asleep, but the image was very peaceful and surprisingly dimensional. It looked as if he was coming right off of the canvas.

Sleeping Elephant, Ivette Zighelboim 2009

All in all, there was some really different/interesting/inspirational pieces in this show by some well known artists and some not-so-well-known artists. I think I enjoyed this show more so than the Portsmouth MFA’s last one. It was a little more out there in terms of imagination, and some of the stuff really disturbed me which is sometimes refreshing. I don’t remember who made the octopus man, but the eyes on that thing look so real I was afraid to look at them for too long. I am really glad I got to go see this show, and I have definitely found some new favorite artists.


About Kelli

Professional Artistic Portrait Photographer View all posts by Kelli

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