Miami University Art Museum Presents Creatures Great & Small

. November 9, 2010 . 0 Comments

The Miami University Art Museum presents Creatures Great & Small, open through Dec 11, 2010.

This exhibition investigates the powerful ways that the natural world has functioned as a storyteller. In earlier times the complex relationship between humans and animals found expression in folk traditions of storytelling and craft production. In more recent centuries, artists have drawn upon this resource for inspiration in their work. Artists and writers continue to be influenced by the natural world, and their stories create an enduring cultural heritage.

Animals were usually represented as objects of prey, or companionship, or adoration and also shown as draft animals or as feared predators. From the beginning of time there has been a symbiotic relationship between humans and animals.

The word symbiosis, from the Greek symbioun, means to live together, and a symbiotic relationship is a close, prolonged association of two dissimilar organisms of different species. This relationship can be mutually beneficial, beneficial to one without harming the other, or beneficial to one and detrimental to the other.

The question to consider is this: how beneficial to animals is the human relationship? More often than not, the relationship is considerably more beneficial to humans than to animals. Humans need animals for food, clothing, farming, medicines, research, therapy, entertainment and numerous other reasons. Some animals can be trained and domesticated to be friends of mankind, but they are not dependent on humans and could survive quite easily without them. Even beloved pets left in the wild would tap into their feral origins and join other animals in their instinctive fight for survival.

In addition to paintings, prints and drawings by American and European artists from the 16th century to the present, featured works in the exhibition include textiles and folk toys from around the world, African goldweights, Asian ceramics, Native American pottery, three-dimensional objects and sculpture in a variety of forms. These selections explore the magnitude and consequence of human involvement in the animal world.

Image: Miami University Art Museum

Miami University Art Museum 801 South Patterson Avenue, Oxford, OH 45056 phone: (513) 529.2232 email:

Category: Fine Art

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