Beast is an unsettling look at the nature of the beast through the drawings, small objects and site-specific installations of Marna Bunnell and Lisa Murray. With dark humour and erotic provocation, Bunnell and Murray collaborate to reveal and expose the scabrous and seductive little monsters, meanies, beasts and bogeymen that inhabit or invade our daily lives. Referencing fairy tales, barnyard tales, memory and dreams, Bunnell and Murray intertwine beauty and cruelty in this intimate navigation of deceit and disguise.
Beast includes an artist book by Marna Bunnell (Edmonton, Alberta), Lisa Murray (Calgary, Alberta) and Alejandro Magallanes (Mexico City, Mexico) produced as part of Stride Gallery's tradition of collaborative exhibitions. Stride's collaborative artist projects provide artists with space in which to develop their works, an opportunity to document the intricate processes of collaboration and to extend the life of their exhibitions.
In her drawings, prints and sculptures, Lisa Murray explores the human impulse to name and order experiences using a symbolic language derived from dreams, memory, didactic visual structures, toys and most recently, rubber animal snouts. Through the fabrication of hybrid forms Murray condenses layers of meaning into succinct symbols. Paradoxically these symbols remain elusive and ambiguous in their meaning as they simultaneously acknowledge, mock and resist attempts at categorization.
Murray was born in Toronto and has lived primarily in Alberta since 1990. She studied fine art at Queens University, Kingston (Ontario) and graduated with an MFA from the University of Alberta, Edmonton (Alberta) in 1994. Recent exhibitions include a solo show, Blind Courage and Panic Fears (Dunlop Art Gallery, 2003) and Draw (2004) and Trans-Figure (2003) at the Edmonton Art Gallery in 2003 and 2004. She now makes her home in Calgary where she teaches at the Alberta College of Art & Design.
Marna Bunnell is an artist, designer, educator and curator who works in her local community of Edmonton and internationally to initiate and produce cultural projects. Her print and graphic design installations are community based and participatory in nature and examine social and political ideas of contemporary life. As interventions, her works question and negotiate points of intersection between power, gender, role, the personal and the public, art and design, the handmade and the mass-produced. Bunnell takes inspiration from popular sources and common objects combining visual and textural referents that include fairy tales, childhood rhymes, graffiti, labels and packaging, beauty and laundry products, domestic utensils, needlework and textiles. Her works continue to explore an ongoing interest in the relationship between the political body and the personal body. Bunnell was born in Winnipeg, Canada. Specializing in hand-printed political posters, she graduated with an MFA from the University of Alberta in 1996.
Her graphic design and printwork has received national and international recognition, winning 1st prize in the 3rd International Biennial of Posters in Mexico, bronze medal in the18th Biennial of Graphic Design, Brno, Czech Republic and 1st prize in the 4th International Biennial of Print, Seoul, Korea. She has exhibited in Canada, Japan, Mexico, Slovenia, Brazil and Korea. In 2002, The Falling Dolls poster project was presented at the 24th International Biennial of Graphic Art in Lujbljana, Slovenia. Bunnell makes her home in both Edmonton, Canada and Mexico City, Mexico.