Jonathan Cooper Park Walk gallery is delighted to present, Rare Beasts

Rare BeastsA joint exhibition from contemporary wildlife artists Gary Stinton and Vicky White 18 November - 4 December 2010.

The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to compare the work and technique of two of the finest contemporary wildlife artists, and highlights how each is creating a new perspective within the traditional framework of wildlife art.

Focusing on the theme of conservation, both artists will depict animals that are currently endangered or which have been brought back from the brink through conservation efforts. Animals portrayed will include, amongst others, the tiger, snow leopard, bison, black rhino, okapi and bonobo.

Vicky White’s fascination with animals is rooted in her experience as a former zookeeper and animal trainer- work which afforded her a wealth of close contact with creatures as diverse as gorillas, tigers, parrots and sea lions;

“Being lucky enough to have worked with them on a one to one basis and knowing them as distinct individuals with fully formed, complex minds of their own, fundamentally shapes the work I do now. Each of the animals I draw is as unique as you and I.”

White works in pencil on primed panels, meticulously building up tone and texture layer by layer. Any suggestion of environment is abandoned in favour of allowing her subjects to occupy a deliberately ambiguous, indefinable space; “The natural history details are crucial in understanding your sitter and are inspiring in themselves, but I’m driven by a simpler, more visceral sense of wonderment at the sheer existence of the creatures I draw.’

The fluency with which Gary Stinton renders his powerful animal portraits is the result of a long journey of enquiry and creative experimentation that ultimately began when he was a young boy, discovering the myriad of tiny creatures at the bottom of the garden.

"When portraying animals we can only hope to capture something of an animal's essence while attempting to make our pictures live. Life is the most important element in my work.’

Stinton works predominantly in pastel, echoing a tradition that goes back 20,000 years, when animals were depicted with pure pigments on cave walls. He works the pastels into museum board, a very pure and archival material. Pastels owe their permanence to their purity, being virtually pure pigment with a little gum tragacanth to bind them. Stinton finds the medium ideal for capturing the fur of the big cats and other animals he depicts; ‘the pastels appear soft and dry, the pigments when applied catch the light at different angles, like the scales on a butterfly’s wing, which gives the work a luminosity not seen in other mediums.’