Wonderful Curiosities Fill Exhibitions

Article excerpt

THE forerunner of the museum, the wunderkammer or cabinet of curiosities, was a wondrous eclectic assortment of amazing objects and strange beasties.

It made the hobby or obsession of collecting both a cult and an art form.

The exhibition, "The Trickster's Cabinet of Wonders", currently showing in the Arts Gallery at the University of Southern Queensland, presents the work of Beata Batorowicz and Brad Nunn.

While loosely paying homage to its historical forebear, the exhibition offers a fresh, sometimes darkly humorous take on the beguiling entity of the "Trickster", that Puckish cohort of foxes and deities.

Brad Nunn's bestiary of tricksters includes a writhing six headed dragon, a pig-like fish with the tentacles of an octopus, a haughty leonine personage and a grumpy chook-dragon.

These creatures are meticulously carved wooden relief sculptures burnished in rich, dark red. They are sad and funny, regal and elegant.

They are a poem to the art of craftsmanship.

Beata Batorowicz takes the fox as a familiar and imbues the furry remnants with a magical power cocooned in vestments of knitted leather- thonging.

Audience response to the wickedly wry inference in The Cock and the Merkin is monitored by the alert eye of the splendid cockerel riding his jester's staff.

The Flying Fur Mat grounded on the floor and tethered by a leash, is a patchwork of fur with blindfold, ears, whiskers and a lolling tongue.

The works are finished with care and attention to every detail and, most significantly, they seamlessly marry theory with practice. …