News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Palo Alto Art Center Invites Viewers to Consider the Relationships between Humans and Animals
“Encounters” Exhibition Offers Viewers a Profound Opportunity to Reconnect with the Natural World
Contact : Ken Heiman, Marketing Coordinator, Palo Alto Art Center    4082302304
El Gato Chimney, On My Way, 153 x 106 cm., watercolor and gouache on cotton paper

PALO ALTO, CA– The Palo Alto Art Center invites viewers to examine the complex, intense, and transformative bond between humans and animals during its free Encounters exhibition, September 14-December 29.

All the artists in this exhibition have had, or imagine they have had, revelatory encounters with other animals. Even more, they find meaning for their own lives by interpreting these occurrences. Drawing freely from the characteristics, behaviors, and architypes of the nonhuman animal world they examine the events and emotional content of their lives, exploring themes of kinship, identity, hybridity, death, and love.

“Humankind was born living alongside other animals, studying their behavior, sharing resources, fighting for land, and sleeping under the same sky,” says Exhibitions Curator Selene Foster. “As civilization progresses and cultural paradigms shift, it is inevitable that our relationship to our nonhuman brethren would also change.”

In her animated short Ascend, Shiva Ahmadi uses animal imagery to rage against and memorialize the real life death of a 3 year old Syrian refugee. Photographer and fisherman Corey Arnold documents the interactions between animals (human and nonhuman) he witnesses and experiences as a fisherman on the Bering Sea. Patricia Piccinini sculpts arresting, hyper-realistic creatures that are both human and other, speaking to the mutability of form. Printmaker Belkis Ayón Manso draws on the power of the animal architypes in African-Cuban myth to tell her own story.

Other artists participating in the exhibition include: Roberto Benavidez, Craig Calderwood, Leonora Carrington, El Gato Chimney, Kate Clark, Anna Fidler, Kara Maria, Christopher Reiger, Fanny Retsek, Samuelle Richardson, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, and Robb Putnam.

A free Friday Night at the Art Center opening celebration will be held on September 20, 7-10 p.m., featuring an opportunity to interact with visiting animals from the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, meet some of the exhibiting artists, and participate in hands-on artmaking activities, while enjoying music, food, and a cash bar. Palo Alto Art Center Foundation members are invited to participate in a walkthrough of the exhibition with the Art Center Director from 6-7 p.m.

A free Art, Science, and Animal Talks presentation at the Art Center will be held on September 21, 2-4 p.m.  Join us for this very special event featuring artists Corey Arnold, Kara Maria, and Christopher Reiger, as well as author Arthur Dawson, animal communicator Ivonne Casillas, and owner of Mr. Raccoon in San Francisco Junio Costa. These short talks will explore the intersection of animals and artmaking, and how our local ecology shapes our experience of being human.

About the Palo Alto Art Center:
The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to discover art. See, make, and be inspired because everyone is anartist. Created by the community, for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center provides anaccessible and welcoming place to engage with art. We serve approximately 140,000 people every yearthrough a diverse range of programs.

The Palo Alto Art Center, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto is funded in part by grants from Silicon Valley Creates and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation. The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation gratefully acknowledges support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Yellow Chair Foundation, private donations, and members.

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