By JW McNay/managing editor

Professor showcases art that features funny animals

The South Campus Carillon Gallery is showcasing faculty-created works featuring animals designed to be humorous and accessible, according to the artist.

The exhibit kicked off with a reception Oct. 4 where attendees could view the works and have a chance talk with the artist, South art associate professor Kara English. She also spoke in the gallery about her True Fraudulent Iconology exhibit, which is available to view during regular campus hours until Nov. 1.

All of the paintings involve dogs, and many of the paintings play on words involving dog-related terms. The work titled “Van Pug” displays “How I Chewed off My Own Ear: by Vincent Van Pug” as if the dog in the painting was Van Gogh.

“Most people don’t find art to be funny,” she said. “It amuses me coming up with a joke, and the dog to go with the painting is part of what motivated me to do it.”

English said the works were the result of a challenge she took last summer to create 100 works in 100 days. The works were originally digital prints that were then painted with acrylics, English said.

Van Pug, Kara English
Van Pug, Kara English

In addition to referencing classic paintings and historical people, English’s works also included more modern pop-culture references such as “Roar Dognarok” designed to look like a movie poster that plays on “Thor Ragnarok.”

“It’s not meant to be serious, obviously,” she said.

English continues to create art and recently finished a work displaying an alpaca in a similar style to her dog paintings. But she doesn’t always do works with animals, she said.

“I’m an abstract artist, and I paint lots of abstract landscapes and pure nontraditional abstracts,” English said. “I love to play with mixed media. I teach digital as well as painting so I’ll just continue to do both because that’s me.”

South student Jade Zemlock attended the reception with her Fine Arts Appreciation classmates to take pictures for an assignment. Zemlock said she enjoyed the exhibit because she likes dogs as well as the use of portraying them like superheroes, which English also did in the some of the works.

“I would say it does appeal to students because she does have the superhero stuff, different movies and she’s got a lot of history stuff,” she said.

South fine arts chair Joshua Goode said English’s works highlight what artists can do with both digital art and painting.

“I think the exciting thing is to be able to share the professional artwork of one our faculty members,” Goode said. “You can see exactly what you can learn from her too. Clearly, she’s making really amazing work.”