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California-born, Texas-based artist Natalie Wadlington has garnered recognition for her richly colored figurative paintings that are heavily based on storytelling. Her characters are wide-eyed with wonderment and fear as they navigate various environments and encounters. She views the interactions presented within her works as metaphors that communicate larger archetypal narratives of love, conflict and misjudgment, specifically in our relationship to nature and animals.
Wadlington communicates the complexity of anthropomorphism, where our tendency to project human thoughts and feelings onto other species can be both beneficial in inspiring empathy in us to care for pets or support environmental causes; as well as detrimental in perpetuating a lack of knowledge about their unique social habits and needs. When it comes to human behavior and our treatment of both animals and one another, we are simultaneously the most compassionate and cruelest species, the most loving and the most destructive.
For her exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, the artist’s first-ever institutional show, Wadlington presents a new series of paintings depicting familiar characters, who come together in symbolic scenes that mirror humanity’s complex struggles in understanding and caring for mother earth. Inspired by the expansive and ever-changing sky in her new home state of Texas, the paintings appoint the celestial sphere as the covert protagonist and are set in all times of day, from dusk to dawn.
Following the opening day, the exhibit will be on view through August 21.