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March 28, 2011 | by  | in Arts Visual Arts |
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Rona Green and Dean Bowen Solander Gallery: Works on Paper

From the outside, the Solander Gallery at 218 Willis St doesn’t look like much. But venture inside and you will find pieces that are charming, quirky and very individual—and, as the exhibition name suggests—all these works are done on paper.

They are currently displaying works from two Australian artists, Rona Green and Dean Bowen.

Rona Green’s works, gathered under the title Losers and Winners, are a series of relief prints that depict fantastical figures—part man and part beast; human bodies topped by the heads of cats, rabbits and dogs; their arms and legs adorned with tattoos of skulls, flowers, birds and bones.

These outlandish creatures stare arrestingly at the viewer from murky backgrounds of swirling inks, their thick clean outlines and two-dimensional simplicity reminiscent of paintings adorning an ancient Egyptian tomb.

Also, they are all so hipster and I can’t help loving them. They are like the lovechildren of Donnie Darko and Outrageous Fortune’s West family. These humanimals know exactly who is boss and it is not you.

The etchings and lithographs of Melbourne-based artist Dean Bowen, exhibited alongside Green, are distinctly less aggressive in tone, though they too are chiefly concerned with unconventional depictions of animals.

Manipulating line and mass, and with a distinct graphic style, Bowen gives us birds that look too heavy to fly and puppy dogs built from bricks. A series of works that are heartwarming, comic and nostalgic, reminding me of some favourite and forgotten children’s book illustrations.

A pair of artists with quirky and individual personal styles in a unique gallery that it is always worth visiting. Go to their openings: they do tasty wines and nibbles.

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