Lovely, fanciful and strange, the paintings of Canton's Erin Mulligan captivate with a worldview sprung from the artist's fertile imagination.
Lovely, fanciful and strange, the paintings of Canton’s Erin Mulligan captivate with a worldview sprung from the artist’s fertile imagination.
“Symphony of Life: The Art of Erin Mulligan,” on view through July 20 at the Canton Museum of Art, mixes a selection of older pieces with her work from 2012 to the present. There are 29 oil paintings total.
The Katywhite series focuses on what Mulligan describes as an “impossibly extraordinary cat.”
“Katywite grows through a series of painful metamorphoses to attain super feline attributes, and becomes somewhat of an ambassador for the rights of the green life on the planet,” Mulligan explains in the exhibition preview.
The artist is aware that her creations are ambiguous and often complex. “It is always difficult for me to try to figure out what my own paintings mean, but I think they are trying to say ‘life,’ ” she said. “Life that is human, and thinking, beautiful, intelligent, scary, good, bad, gross, ugly, lovely, rough, smelly and delicious.”
Her artwork often inspires questions from viewers. “Most people say they want to know what it feels like to be in my brain,” she said. “They ask, ‘What goes on in your brain? You look so normal.’”
From the sound of things, her art has been a bit quirky since childhood.
“When I was a kid, I drew a lot of mice,” she recalled. “I had a mouse club I was president of. We would go out to the playground and draw mice.”
Mulligan, 31, has been exhibiting her work around the area for about eight years at the Little Art Gallery, Massillon Museum, Market Street Art Spot, The Hub, Cyrus Framing and Translations Art Gallery. She estimates she has created 200 pieces.
She received best-in-show honors at the Great Lakes Art Fair in Novi, Mich., and the Mill Valley Fall Art Festival in Mill Valley, Calif. Her “Persistence of Uala” piece was published in “Modern Grimmoire,” an anthology by Indigo Ink Press.
There will be a free gallery event with Mulligan at the museum from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 8.
The museum is located in the Cultural Center for the Arts, at 1101 Market Ave. N. Through April 30, admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; closed Monday.