A fantastical new exhibition opens at Dairy Barn Arts Center

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Nestled in the corner of the first floor of Dairy Barn Arts Center lies its newest exhibition: Illuminated: a bestiary for troubled times.

On view in the Chaddock & Morrow Gallery, Illuminated features a collection of medieval and fantasy-themed art done by three close female friends. The artists, Danette Pratt; Emily Beveridge and Erin Hogan each represent a staple in mythology and commentary on the current state of our world through their artwork.

Hogan, whose contribution to the exhibition includes small, soft, but detailed figures of dragons, created her art entirely of up-cycled materials.

“It’s just really important to me to showcase what you might be able to do with waste in the world and make it beautiful, transform it,” Hogan said.

The unity and strong female friendship between the three artists, as well as the themes of the work, give the exhibition a “feminist overtone,” according to Beveridge. In fact, the women have been close friends for years, and Beveridge says the women all have a similar view on how they shape their art.

“We all really have this mutual respect and support that we give to each other through art-making,” said Beveridge. “We kind of have the same outlook of a little bit of humor in our work. We wanted to put the show together to celebrate the medieval but also kind of bring it to our current times.”

Hogan's beastly creation "soars" through the hall. [ Ahmed Hamed | WOUB ]
Two women admire artwork done by Danette Pratt.
A woman is delighted by this dragon creation [ Ahmed Hamed | WOUB ]
Dragon sculpture done by Erin Hogan, paintings by Emily Beveridge. [Ahmed Hamed | WOUB ]
The introduction to the new exhibition [Ahmed Hamed | WOUB ]
Hogan describes her art in front of Beveridge's paintings. [ Ahmed Hamed | WOUB ]
Just a corner of the new exhibition [ Ahmed Hamed | WOUB ]

Beveridge’s work in the exhibition consists of paintings of Catholic saints and martyrs in fantastical and sometimes grotesque situations. This is purposeful, as Beveridge says the paintings are a representation of how women are expected to act when being mistreated.

“The work is supposed to be very orderly and pretty, but there are horrible things happening in some of the pieces,” Beveridge said. “It kind of makes you wonder, ‘Is that what women do?’ Do we put on a good face, make a good show for the world?  Inside, there might be a lot of turmoil, there may have been things that hurt in our lives that is difficult.”

Pratt was unable to be reached at the opening ceremony, but her work is equally poignant. Her pieces feature creatures and mythology of Southeast Ohio, with a medieval twist, of course.

The exhibition opened last week with a two-hour-long opening ceremony featuring music from the Athens Recorder Consort and medieval beverages. It will be open during the Dairy Barn’s usual hours until Sept. 11. For more information, click here.