A post-apocalypse war between mechanically-assisted animals and vigilante humans. Dark and hellish? Yes. Good idea for an exhibition? Absolutely. This week’s featured artist recently opened just such a show with colleague and friend, Matthew Dunn, in Melbourne’s Art Boy Gallery. The two dreamed up the idea together while looking at their own unique styles and wondering how they might join forces to create a show that is interesting, engaging and just a bit terrifying.
Whilst Dunn tends to side with the bipedal apes, Firedrake (Kaitlin Beckett in the real world) has been fitting members of the animal kingdom with battle-ready mechanical parts since 2002. On her website, she cites a keen interest in the juxtaposition of elements of nature and the real world with those of the imaginary. This fascination dates back to her childhood, the inspiration coming from sci-fi, cryptozoology and dreams. The artist works with acrylics, airbrush, dip pen and fingers, primarily on canvas, but at the aforementioned show we couldn’t help noticing some lovely works on aged wood panels and even a skateboard deck.
Against the colossal military might of humankind, Kaitlin’s animals may look under-equipped in some of the battles, but in others, they rule the environment. (How on earth can you stop mechanised sharks, dung beetles who trundle tiny, spherical cluster bombs, or bears that swat missiles from the air like leaping salmon?)
Kaitlin Beckett originally hails out of New Zealand, but has made her way across the Antipodean ditch and now resides in Melbourne, where she continues to create these zoological marvels.