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Taxidermy, Matchbooks, and Satire Meet in One Show

A three-person show at the beinArt Gallery in Australia has us curious.

by Nathaniel Ainley
May 26 2016, 3:19pm

The Samurai - Akio Mamoru, Lucia Mocnay, Ethically sourced fox fur, glass, vintage samurai costume – bone, metal, textiles, paper. 46 x 30 x 28 cm (18.1" x 11.8" x 11").Images courtesy the beinArt Gallery.

A mishmash of ornamented taxidermy sculptures, intricate matchbook illustrations, and nostalgic oil paintings cover the walls of the beinArt Gallery in an eccentric new three person exhibition, titled Curios. The show features remarkably detailed, miniature sketches that illustrator Jason d’Aquino creates inside the pages of found matchbooks, a collection of stuffed fox heads that Australian artist Lucia Mocnay wraps in historically iconic outfits, and a new series of figure portraits by Scott G. Brooks that, although formally influenced by classical portraiture, replace high society accessories with bear costumes, finger puppets, and crayons. It's hard to know exactly which themes are tying these three artists together. Maybe it's a shared nostalgia for the past, or maybe they just look cool together.

Bettie 2, Jason D’Aquino, Hand embellished limited edition print on vintage matchbook. Edition of 25. 12.7 x 17.8 cm (5” x 7”) with frame.

Lucia Mocnay’s taxidermic adornments take their anamorphic cues from a range of different genres, including Victorian era fashion and medieval Japanese armor. These “ethically sourced” stuffed animals are dressed in archetypal costumes inspired by historical folklore. The Slovakian born artist works through elements of sewing, sculpture, and millinery that combine humor with morbidity.

Miniaturist Jason d’Aquino’s matchbook drawings reminisce the early days of Hollywood and the visual aesthetic of noir fiction films, novels, and comic books. The beinArt lists some of his influencers as writers H.P. Lovecraft and Henry Darger, as well as German visual artist Hans Bellmer. d’Aquino’s matchbooks depict characters like Albert Einstein, Pinhead from Hellraiser, and Marilyn Monroe.

Scott G. Brooks’ series of contemporary portraiture incorporates a similar impression of nostalgia by inserting "party favor" plastic toys of the early 2000s into his painterly aesthetic. Brooks plays with these subtle material distortions to explore problematic social and political subjects, such as slut-shaming and depictions of masculinity in our culture. beinArt Gallery writes that Brooks’, “Anatomical distortions separate the figures from the photographic ideal, which gives him the freedom to create his own distorted reality.”

Check out some more work from the show below:

Bears Will Be Bears, Scott G. Brooks, Oil on canvas, 40.6 x 50.8 cm (16" x 20").

Spicy Mystery, Jason D’Aquino, Hand embellished limited edition print on vintage matchbook. Edition of 25. 12.7 x 17.8 cm (5” x 7”) with frame.

The Seafarer's Wife - Lady Eleonora Nautique, Lucia Mocnay, Ethically sourced fox fur, glass, wood, feathers, textiles, paper, mini tricorn hat (all new materials). 56 x 33 x 30 cm (22" x 13" x 11.8").

The Shaming, Scott G. Brooks, Oil on canvas, 45.7 x 61 cm (18" x 24").

Check out Scott G. Brooks’ work here, Jason D’Aquino’s miniature matchbook series here and Lucia Mocnay’s taxidermy here.

Related:

Faux Taxidermy Sculptures Are Kill-Free Surrealism

Taxidermy Artists React to Cecil the Lion's Death

Tiny, Sentimental Portraits Turn Matchbooks Into Canvases