Painting the zoo beasts, Addison doesn't depict cages but you can feel their edges nonetheless. The animals are so neatly grouped and staged — like a mid-'40s painting of a tightly packed group of deer lying near a river or a 1937 watercolor of haughty gang of sea lions hauled out on an island that might bring to mind New York's Central Park Zoo. White Crane & Butterfly from around 1948 depicts a crane glimpsed between big green tropical leaves and dangling vines that frame the action like theatrical curtains. The bird's body is a delicate S-curve balancing on long legs. A violet and purple butterfly flits over the plants along a river's shore. And the bird, still and severe, wading in the shallows, has its eye on us.
As a companion to the Addison paintings, Tompkins presents new drawings and prints by Providence's Alec Thibodeau. They're fine-lined pen drawings of a butterfly flying near a pitcher plant or a mole popping out of a hole or a mouse perched on the back of a toad as a flaming ship sinks in the background. While Addison is all nostalgia and charm, Thibodeau's style is tight and illustrative and surreal. Screenprints depict a rhinoceros breathing blue flame under a blue-green sun and a running, flaming elephant. His crisp, precise hatched lines freeze the creatures in place, turning them into mystical icons.
MYSTICAL ICONS A detail from Thibodeau’s Trust.
Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.
: Museum And Gallery
, Bronx Zoo, Alec Thibodeau, Cade Tompkins Projects