"The point of mythology or myth is to point to the horizon and to point back to ourselves: This is who we are; this is where we came from; and this is where we're going...." - J. Michael Straczynski
Come to Davis Square, Somerville this December and you will see some large scale animal paintings on display in the Inside-OUT Gallery window. These pieces are the creations of local artist, Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer and depict myths or folktales both traditional and modern. The gallery, which is run by the Somerville Arts Council, chooses a different Somerville artist to highlight each month of the year. Passers-by can easily view the artwork from the sidewalk as they pass the two large windows in front of the CVS in Davis Square (thus its name).
Finnegan-Topitzer calls these pieces “Mythologies” and they stem from her varied backgrounds in the study of folklore, art, and bookbinding. Each piece represents a tale that involves an animal as its central character.
There is a colorful fish from the Haitian tale “Tezin My Friend” and a seal representing a Celtic selkie or magical seal person. There are also two paintings with modern tales written by the artist herself. One, “The Orphaned Kits” was inspired by witnessing a mother fox being hit by a car while her two kits ran around in confusion. Another, “Passing of the Pikas” calls attention to the plight of the high mountain dwelling animal, the pika, and how its populations are being effected by climate change.
Finnegan-Topitzer hopes that the lessons taught by these tales will resonate with people and inspire more empathy toward wild creatures.
Each painting contains 3D elements, one of which is a book which encloses the tale itself within its pages. Finnegan-Topitzer is a graduate of Boston’s North Bennet Street School where she studied the fine craft of hand bookbinding. She obtained her Master’s degree in Folklore in Ireland at University College Cork. She is a recipient of an Artist Fellowship Finalist grant by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and an Artists Fellowship grant by the Somerville Arts Council. More of her work can be viewed at www.jfinnegantopitzer.com.
“Mythologies” will be on display for the month of December at the Inside/OUT Gallery in Davis Square, Somerville, MA.
on display in Davis Square
About the Inside-Out Gallery
Initiated in 2009, The Inside-Out Gallery is located in the CVS Window in Davis Square, a unique space that allows the public to view an eclectic array of works from artists and local organizations each month. The mission of the Somerville Arts Council is to cultivate and celebrate the creative expressions of the Somerville community. Through innovative collaborations and quality programming we work to make the arts an integral part of life reflective of our diverse city.