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Forster Art Complex Ross Gallery: April 24 - 28, 2023

gallery installation

painting of creature and person sitting on roof
"Oh, that might be a plane actually..."

     While the taller being could jump onto the roof, the littler one would have to climb through the second-floor window. Not because the being was unable to lift them up, but because the slight struggle is a little bit funny to them. It is said that they can see the lunar eclipse tonight a bit after the sun has fully set - though the sunset itself is still a pretty sight to behold. So, they lay on the room for an hour before the eclipse. The stars may not come out for a while but there appears to be some blinking lights already in the dusk sky.

painting of creature holding umbrella for person on street
"Well, I'm done shopping for the night!"

     The rain started to pour by the time they were done with the bookstore. And although they would have stayed and perused the aisles during such a peaceful time, it was getting late. It's been a long day of exploring the various antique shops and museums in the downtown area. Most of the time, they were merely looking at the different items on display - whispering to each other over what they were looking at. A few trips ended with them finding some things that were interesting enough to buy: an old FUJIFILM camera, a little clown doll, some warm cookies, and a newly released book by Malcolm Gladwell. They are excited with their findings, though they were already happy with being able to spend time together.

painting of creature with arm around person sitting on couch
"Y'know, I think we should get a pet."

painting of person and creature sitting outside on grass
"Yea, I think I prefer the sunlight."

     In a world that was made for the relatively smaller people, the wide expanse of nature gives freedom to those who were more inclined to hide. As it would turn out, not all 'cryptids' and 'beings' from unknown places enjoyed being in isolation from the great big world. Thankfully, they can stretch their forms up and out - now able to perceive the beauty and horrors of the planet they inhabit. Oddly enough, there is a sort of love that can be found with these humans. The kind of love that makes sitting down closer to their level not seem so terrible after all. 

painting of creature squatting in doorway looking a person seated at desk
"So... we're out of buttermilk."

     Buttermilk is an ingredient used in baking or cooking things like pancakes and chicken. What the being in the doorway is using said buttermilk for is up for interpretation. However, I would like to note the use of "we" in their statement. The kitchen, a place needed in homes for sustenance, is shared between these two characters. There is no need for doors where they live together. And though the silence of the morning was broken - the concentration of the one at the desk now taken away to the being - it was not unwelcome or against the norm of their daily lives. 

invite card

Creature Comfort
by Jennifer Ortega 

     It's a simple story, really two people living together. They sit within these canvases - unaware of our gaze. These are their usual routines captured for us to ponder the larger story and meaning. What helps with this contemplation of their lives is to question what makes someone comfortable. What brings true contentment? Will it be something that works for everyone? There is a more universal definition of comfort that applies to all living things. Creature comforts: the food, sleep, shelter, and movement that help the welfare of someone. Though what makes this concept personal is how these comforts are obtained. We as humans choose what we do with our lives to the best of our abilities - and the people around us become a part of that choice.
     But when thinking about comfort, some questions came up for me. What truly makes us human? What stays in despite of change? What would remain if all we really had was to live? What if I'm just overthinking something that I have already been doing all this time? Of course, I was, but without this exploration, I would be bored and without a topic to paint about.
     I became entranced with showing comfort through art - and then I thought about monsters. The idea of an otherworldly creature unironically living a peaceful life like a human being was always my favorite trope, but I always wondered why that was the case. Monsters are supposed to be scary and trigger a fear response. It would seem unlikely to connect the idea of the menacing unknown to comfort. Yet here I am, with artworks that I can neither confirm nor deny are meant to be two different personas living in a comfortable environment with each other - safe and without fear.
     While analyzing this part of my imagination, I found that a part of me wants this kind of comfort or at least the kind I see in the media I watch. The warm sun and beautiful fields - far from civilization yet also amongst it. The moments where a loved one would check in on another or sit with them in near silence to just be. Yet, there is also an underlying desire to make peace with the dark. To try and find peace and acceptance with the weird and spookier parts of me. This exhibit is a conglomeration of these two meditations. It is the depiction of a haven for those who do not really need to be feared.