So I was driving through town after a yoga class and, suddenly, I felt like someone was checking whether my hands were on the wheel at 2- and 10 o’clock. I looked in my left mirror and saw nothing but trees whizzing by at a speed of 30 mph. When I looked right, I saw three big rabbits staring at me … rather beckoning me … to come hither and check out those crazy lapins in the new exhibit at The Lionheart Gallery.
Though it was seven o’clock on a beautiful early-fall evening and the gallery was closed, I had no choice but to stop. And knock … hoping Gallery Director Susan Grissom would be there to let me in and see, up close, these rabbits with serious ‘tude.
May I introduce Starman120, The Thin White Duke, BlueJean120 and Hercules. Their portraits are edgy, sensational and seductive. Their huge heads and prodigious ears portray snarky boldness and haughty panache. I’m in love. I had to speak with the artist.
“As a figurative painter, I initially imagined the rabbit paintings would be purely experimental,” says artist Jo Hay, who was born in Newcastle Upon-Tyne England in 1964. “I very quickly realized that they are equally relevant portraits in themselves.”
Ho goes on to explain how her work is dependent on a variety of paint marks made with different sized brushes and tools.
“Along with color, the scale and position of these marks are responsible for the vigorous visual activity that I want in all of my work,” she continues. “The rabbits are a place for me to find new ways of constructing a living figure without being concerned with likeness or gender. Instead, it forces me to closely examine each rabbit’s personality differences to make each portrait unique. This focused study also helps me to achieve a strong anatomical structure and give me time to contemplate my unequivocal belief in animal consciousness.”
And karma. These creatures that hog up a canvas with high-flying ears have a piercing regard that beckons the viewer to come closer. Anyone have a carrot? Don’t bother. These rabbits are too cool to take a gnaw.