Melinda K. Hall
"My Modern Bestiary"   (2014)

Meyer East Gallery
225 Canyon Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Opening: August 1, 2014

"Over 20 years ago I knew I would one day paint my own. It was around this time that I discovered the fascinating bestiaries of Ancient Greece, the Middle Ages and beyond. These illustrated compendiums described and depicted real and mythical animals, birds, sea creatures, insects, plants and even rocks. They were a teaching tool, often with enchanting explanations of habits and attributes: some fact, some fantasy. The manuscripts summarized wisdom and knowledge but they were never meant to be scientific texts.

As authors expanded their beliefs and intensions, many bestiary volumes ascribed to each animal, through divinely coded messages, a moral significance. Although my collection has no aim to moralize, I happily play with allegory, fable, metaphor and proverb.

I am a narrative painter by nature, telling stories on my canvases with image and text, observation and commentary, humor and history. This sort of painting playground appeals to me, a place of creative license where I can combine both research and imagination.

In this series, first thought about so long ago, each painting is approached as if it were a "page" from my book of beasts, where my newfound vision combines with frequent nods to the ancient past.

Here, then, is My Modern Bestiary."