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Bestiary brings an artistic menagerie to the Boehm Gallery

The Boehm Gallery welcomes artists Avia Rose Ramm, Helena Westra, and Mayce Keeler for the spring semester exhibition Bestiary: Animals, Myth, and Somethings In Between.

Bestiary will open on March 12 with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. with an artist talk at 2 p.m. The exhibition features work from all three local artists with themes that explore the natural world and the often intertwined relationship between human and beast.

In an exhibition statement, gallery director Ryan Bulis said, “The three artists selected for this show—Mayce Keeler, Avia Rose Ramm, and Helena Westra—all individually have their own relationships with animals and mythos as it relates to their art practice. The idea for the exhibition was to create a kind of menagerie of artworks that interpret and recontextualize the individual efforts of the artists into a larger, more symbolic Bestiary.”

The artists were excited to share their work with Palomar students. In the month leading up to the opening, many art classes had the opportunity to visit the gallery to see the installation process.

When discussing what students should take away from the exhibition, the artists hoped to inspire curiosity, amusement, and bodily knowing with their works.

“Spectating the Bullpen” by Mayce Keeler

Keeler takes inspiration from animals and the base and animalistic tendencies of humans. “Please take away a sense of play, of amusement amongst serious environmental turmoil. Laughing at oneself in the situation that they themselves are responsible for,” Keeler said. “Our basal emotions are powerful and animalistic and important.”

Drawing inspiration from the earth, Ramm’s current works focus on the roots of humanity and bear witness to its evolution and diversity. Ramm said, “It goes back to how we all came from dirt, when we evolved early enough to make society, we were making, and today I am making. It keeps me in touch.”

“In my end is my beginning” dirt and glue on canvas by Helena Westra

Similarly, Westra is inspired by the human connection with the earth, finding grounding in the dirt and sand that make up her surroundings. “I hope my work evokes feelings of tangibility and bodily knowing. We’ve all touched dirt. It’s nothing new,” Westra said. “We all know how it feels in our hands, what it sounds like when we step in it, how it sticks to our skin. It bears witness to our whole existence.”

The exhibition promises thought-provoking art that asks the viewer to explore their more core feelings and examine their connection with the raw world of earth and animals.

Bestiary: Animals, Myth, and Somethings In Between will be displayed at the Boehm Gallery from March 12 to April 16. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit the Boehm Gallery website here.

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