ABOYNE – Local artist Susan Strachan Johnson responds to the art of Leonardo da Vinci, George Stubbs and Alex Colville in a thought- provoking exhibit, Equimanity, that explores the unique bond between humans and horses.
Continuing at Wellington County Museum and Archives in Aboyne until Nov. 22, the show analyzes how each of these painters chose to depict their horses, how they could have been more lifelike, and what hidden message they may be giving in their representation of them.
For example, da Vinci, a close observer of nature, most often showed them with their mouths open, and chins unnaturally tightly folded against their necks.
Strachan Johnson suggests that this was due to the equitation practices of the time, and that da Vinci, known to be an animal lover, may actually have been making a subtle protest about the cruel way horses were treated.
This is an easy show to enjoy in the time of COVID-19, since it allows the viewer to move around the gallery in a chronological and self-distancing manner, museum officials note.
First it showcases horse drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. Then it moves on the famous 18th century horse portraitist, George Stubbs, and then to Alex Colville, including an analysis of his iconic painting, Horse and Train.
Strachan Johnson‘s understanding of horses has extended over her lifetime, from getting her first pony at age seven, when she first began to draw and paint them. Since then she has developed a deep understanding of how they behave and move.
Strachan Johnson has always resisted having a show exclusively about horses – until now.