Featured pic- Rosemary ValadonSleepy Cat -Oil On Canvas.

Michael Esson Feathered Rhino-, pencil, charcoal and crayon on paper
Ardmore Ceramics- Wild Dog Riders
Ardmore Ceramics- Wild Dog Riders

This exhibition comes at a time when animal rights are becoming an increasingly significant issue and more and more city dwellers are adopting them as companions.

Michelle Perry, the gallery owner, has selected works which celebrate animals in their beauty, their grace and our connection with them. We love, eat, revere, abuse and anthromorphise them.

A diverse range of animals are displayed using a range of media, in a range of art forms that includes sculpture, drawing, painting and soft furnishings.

Artists that are featured include Suzanne Archer, Karen Barbouttis, Michelle Belgiorno, Danelle Bergstrom, Michael Esson, Geoff Harvey, Sylvia Ross, Luke Sciberras, Ian Smith, Rosemary Valadon, Emily Valentine and ARDMORE Ceramics.

Michael Esson’s etchings Animals of the Chinese Zodiac (numbers 1-x) is a crowd favourite and talking point. It is quirky and at times disturbing. A more political message is conveyed by his Feathered Rhino.

Also political are Sylvia Ross’s photographs of the Grey Squirrels from her Feral – Dislocated Series as the squirrels allegedly are being poisoned.

Karen Barbouttis draws a range of birds, donkeys, a dog and a camel in her various fine detailed works. Her use of colour and light makes them easy to view.

The way animals can exude amiability and distinct personalities, are shown in Geoff Harvey’s depiction of dogs and in the delicate lines of Danelle Bergstrom’s silkscreen print of a friend’s Siamese.

Rosemary Valadon’s oil artworks of cats reveal that even when sleepy,  cats can still be unsettling, if not scary.

Michelle Belgiorno’s Untitled (Cat, Bird, Caterpillar) elicits a chilling feeling of foreboding.

A range of works from Ardmore Ceramics, comprising artists from the Drakensberg region of Natal in South Africa, demonstrate  the use of vivid colours.

Different forms and function are presented including teapots, dishes and candlesticks. Frog Vase by George Manyathela & Msomi/Roux Gwala has yellow frogs ‘settled’ on green leaves yet still displaying significant energy and movement.

Both Elephant Monkey Jug by Sviso Mvelase & Sthabiso Hadebe and Warthog Teapot by Sviso Mvelase & Wiseman Ndlovu show dynamism, robustness and fecundity.

This is not a restful exhibition. There is plenty of motion, grace, beauty and humour. Foreboding and at times political, the messages are at different times- disturbing, pretty, quirky, classic, unsettling, robust, fecund and forlorn. Appealing and repulsive, we are drawn towards and away from the intensity of the works.

This enlivening exhibition of our fellow sentient beings, ANIMALS, continues until Sunday 26 June 2016 at SPOT81, 81 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday 11a.m. to 5p.m.