Creepy / Cute

28 October – 27 November 2016

Creepy/Cute is a celebration of all things strange and wonderful that defy expectation and categorization. This exhibition invites fifteen artists from around the world to create a realm where anything is possible, and rules, regulations and genders do not exist.

The meticulous works of Melbourne-based Kate Gagliardi explore notions of mortality and the fleeting nature of beauty. Similarly, Jennifer Allnutt’s depictions of skulls mash classical notions of beauty with a sinister undertone, winking at the style and subject matter of artists Frida Kahlo and Paula Rego. Ukrainian Dasha Pliska’s ‘Birds of Solar Garden’ print series draw inspiration from mythological narratives centred around strong female characters such as ‘Sirin’, a bird-maiden who is the ambassadress of the underworld, luring vulnerable souls into the realm of death through song. 

Baby Teefff and Daria HK both explore an internal landscape through illustration. Baby Teefff through imbuing seemingly innocent subject matter with elements of horror that result in an enchantingly warped fusion of the two. And Daria through the tackling of mental health issues and the repercussions of trauma via the cathartic nature of self-portraiture.

Luka Va’s inspiration comes from observing human rituals in everyday city life, and creating zoomorphic creatures that embody these qualities. The recurring sloth character plays on this theme of laziness in the fast paced modern world. Besides Luka’s quirky enamel pins sit ‘Unicorn Candycat’ and ‘Milkshake Racoon’ in deep discussion. Hand-crafted from start to finish by incredible Russian artist Daria Lapto, with heads that turn 360 degrees and adjustable limbs perfect to accentuate a simple gesture.

Ban She is a local portrait painter with a wonderful comic style. Her vibrant pieces burst with colour, while describing humorous personal narratives. For example ‘Greed’ combines her ‘’love of seafood with the vibrancy of the ocean’s flora and fauna in the most sadistic way possible.’’ Similarly, Melbourne-based Tayla Broekman utilises narratives from her personal life through reflecting versions of herself and people she knows through human and anthropomorphic characters. Spirituality, sexuality and emotional connection all play a large part in her conceptual output.

Grace Mitchell’s ‘Epic Journey’ is a multi-layered paper piece that explores the longing for a childhood full of fabulously queer role models to look up to. Her bright piece is nestled among a cluster of Melbourne artist Hannakin’s hand-sewn creatures which also explore notions of childhood and nostalgia. Emma Kidd’s illustrations on book pages paint a calm picture of slow-moving dugongs and whimsical forest creatures. Her hand-painted articulated dolls and limited edition zine make wonderful additions to the Creepy/Cute offering.

Seattle-based married duo MarninSaylor create fantastical covetable plush toys by hand and collaborate with graphic artists to create illustrated prints inspired by their products. Their best-selling Maple Bears and Donut Cats feature in Creepy/Cute, which also marks MarninSaylor’s first appearance in an Australian exhibition. Similarly fantastical and rather creepy are French artist Stan Manoukian’s illustrated zombies and gizmos, who’s enormous eyes and fuzzy coats paint a spooky picture.

Emma Sullivan’s ‘Oozy Burls’ dot the gallery with gold tipped glaciers and squishy pink rock formations that play with notions of scale and familiarity. Irresistible to touch yet alien at once, her expanding foam and resin forms are the perfect completion to the wonderland that is Creepy/Cute.

Fruzsi Kenez