Dogs are the central motif in ‘Barkers and Biters’, the new group exhibition opening this November at aMBUSH Gallery. It’s an evocative, analytical and playful examination of the role dogs play in the narrative of the Australian identity, and their impact on our society – from the bush to the city and the suburbs beyond.
The exhibition was inspired by the 1914 book of the same name, written by environmentalist, bushman and dog authority, Robert Kaleski. His document was the first dedicated to Australian dog breeds, many of which were developed for hunting and livestock work, as well as to be the ultimate companion.
Featured artists include: Laura Clement, Blak Douglas, Connor Keighran, Bronte Leighton-Dore, Anna Mould, Simon Mould, Arielle Gamble, Jesse Dayan, Paige Northwood, Robby Bennett, Ruth Stone, Zak Tilley, the Tjanpi Desert Weavers and Neil Tomkins (aka Birdhat).
With diversified art practices including painting, drawing, textiles, sculpture, and weaving, the selected artists have produced expressive and poignant works depicting “man’s best friend” in all its forms – as mongrels, mutts and mates.
Often represented in popular Australian tales, myth and legend as the symbol of loyalty and mateship, the artworks invite deeper contemplation by exploring themes both dark and light, including humour, beauty, history and brutality.
‘Barkers and Biters’ is presented and produced by aMBUSH Gallery and curated by Laura Clement, with the opening night event on Thursday, 8 November from 6-9pm at aMBUSH Gallery (4a James Street, Waterloo), including complimentary drinks from Brooklyn Brewery.
The exhibition will be opened by Guy Hull, an experienced and qualified canine behaviourist and author, with a passion for the historic and current role of the dog in Australian society. The phrase “dog whisperer” comes to mind, however this is a label Hull rejects. Full of humour, Hull’s new book The Dogs That Made Australia, offers some strong debate to Robert Kaleski’s 1914 book Barkers and Biters, and reveals a cross-bred backbone to a nation’s colonial survival.
The exhibition will run from Friday 9 November to Sunday 11 November, from 12-4pm and is free of charge to the public.
Check aMBUSH Gallery on Facebook and Instagram for exhibition updates.
Artwork by Robby Bennett
Anna Mould, Arielle Gamble, Blak Douglas, Bronte Leighton-Dore, Connor Keighran, Jesse Dayan, Laura Clement, Neil Tomkins, Paige Northwood, Robby Bennett, Ruth Stone, Simon Mould, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Zak Tilley