The Popular Pet Book

Sarah Engledow

The Popular Pet Book
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The Popular Pet Book

Sarah Engledow

The Popular Pet Book features portraits of famous and obscure Australians and their pets by contemporary artists Nicholas Harding, Lucy Culliton, Darren McDonald, Anna Culliton, Fiona McMonagle, Ken Done, Noel McKenna, Graeme Drendel, Robyn Sweaney and Kristin Headlam. The book features more than one hundred colour images of paintings and fifteen light hearted, yet informative essays by Dr Sarah Engledow.

In recent works of art, animals have often appeared as slightly menacing characters, playing shadowy parts in indeterminate scenes. Yet, leading painters keep expressing the gaiety and cosiness that many of us share with our animal companions; celebrating their trusting and unpretentious souls.

Lately, the fifteen Australian artists whose work appears in The Popular Pet Book have painted people and their animal friends in a very different fashion. The range is no surprise: the artists' own stories are very various, including not just how, but why they make art, how it challenges them, and what they get out of it.

The painted, sculpted and drawn pet animals in this book make congenial guides to random, basic ideas about art.  Some artists go at their subjects in fervour, with bravado; and some labour over individual hairs with skills that bring tears to the eyes.

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