The paintings, sketches, sculptures, collages and mixed-material constructions now on display at the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft are the work of 11 members of the species homo sapiens. But the inspirations range from the spiral pattern of a spider’s web and the sturdy intricacy of a robin’s nest to the habitats, traps, nurseries, storage facilities and flashy courtship displays built by various insects, arthropods, birds, mammals and fellow aesthetes of the animal kingdom.
Curated and featuring contributions by Donna Payton, the group show ‘Animal Architects: Influences on Human Creativity’ serve as the conversation starter for a summer-long series of events for adults and children.This Sunday, the museum, on the campus of Brookdale Community College, welcomes several of the represented artists back for a special public-invited panel discussion.
Scheduled for 2 p.m., the panel will explore the contributing artists’ individual creative processes, as well as topics touched upon in the book ‘Animal Architects: Building and the Evolution of Intelligence.‘ Written by the Princeton-based husband and wife team of James L. Gould and Carol Grant Gould, the book has been cited as a major source of inspiration for Payton, who recommended that each of her fellow participants read it.
Also represented in the exhibit are “found materials” sculptors Harry Bower, Dana Michele Hemes, Gyuri Hollósy, Eva Mantell, Kathleen Hayden Preziosi and Richard Sanders; painter Susan Hoenig; and mixed-media artists Eve Ingalls, Joy Kreves, and Libby Ramage. Present in spirit are the bowerbirds, hornets, wasps, squirrels and leaf miners whose original constructions are marvels of sophisticated functionality, breathtaking complexity and genuine beauty.
The Animal Architects exhibit remains on view during regular museum hours (Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.) through September 3, with regular adult admission priced at $8.
Several of the contributing artists will also be returning to the campus to conduct a special series of summer workshops in the museum’s outdoor Meyer Art and Nature Area. On June 27, Eva Mantell hosts a 1 p.m. Bower Bird Challenge session for ages 5 and up, while on July 13 Libby Ramage presents two workshops (11 a.m. for ages 5 to 7; 1 p.m. for ages 8 and up) on the subject of windsocks.
The appropriately named Harry Bower stops by on July 26 for a 1 p.m. “Build Like a Bowerbird” session for for ages 8 and over, then returns on August 8 for a 10:30 a.m. Bowerbird workshop aimed at teens and adults. The series concludes on August 31 with a 1 p.m. Leaf, Watercolor and Pastels session hosted by Susan Hoenig. Cost to participate in any of the artist workshops is $10 per person.