EXHIBITION: "Symphony of Life: The Art of Erin Mulligan"

March 21 - July 20, 2014


Artist Erin Mulligan has a significant regional following, with the style, feel and subject of her oil paintings providing a unique perspective, almost a commentary, on human existence. That artistic talent will be on display at the Canton Museum of Art in a new exhibition, “Symphony of Life — The Art of Erin Mulligan,” March 21 through July 20, 2014, in one of the Museum's upper galleries.

Opening Event:

The “Symphony of Life” exhibition will be celebrated with a Members Only Opening Event to be held on April 30, 6 – 8 pm, in conjunction with another major exhibition opening on May 1.

Exhibit & Artist Overview:

The exhibition features many signature pieces from Mulligan, such as “Frabbit Apocalypse,” “Fire Breathing Rabbit,” “Laser Cats” and others, including the immensely popular “Katywite” series about an “impossibly extraordinary cat.”

Mulligan's work has been exhibited throughout Northeast Ohio for more than seven years, from Cleveland and Akron to Canton and Massillon (including the Little Art Gallery, Massillon Museum, Transitions Gallery, Market Street Art Spot and Cyrus Framing). She has been featured in galleries in San Francisco and New York, and in 2012 she was awarded Best in Show at the Great Lakes Art Fair in Michigan. In 2013, her “Persistence of Uala” piece was published as part of “Modern Grimmoire,” an anthology by Indigo Ink Press.

Featured in the Exhibit — Image details, clockwise, from left:

The Death Piece, 2007, Oil on clay board, 24 x 12, On loan from a private collection

America The Beautiful, 2008, Oil on clay board, 18 x 14

Cicada’s After Rembrandt, 2012, Oil on clay board, 5 x 7, On loan from a private collection

Birth Of A Parasite, 2012, Oil on clay board, 9 x 12

Fire Breathing Rabbit, 2005, Oil on clay board, 7 ½ x 9 ½

Frabbit Apocalypse, 2013, Oil on clay board, 11 x 7

Nadine’s Curtains, 2012, Oil on clay board, 9 ½ x 14

An Exhibit Feature: The Katywite Story from the Artist ...

Katywite is the name of a story I am in the process of creating, about the adventures of an impossibly extraordinary cat. The approach I am taking in “writing” the story is to come up with a narrative drawing first, and after I have the image, continuing with the story line by describing each picture. It becomes exciting even for me, because I do not know exactly all the details of the adventures Katywite will have. 


Two Images from the Series (l-r): Katywite (A Treaty with the Slugbots), 2012, Oil on clay board, 9 x 12; and Katywite Embryonic Stage, 2013, Oil on clay board, 7 x 5

Katywite is the hero of my story. He is part of a cat-like race that lives on the planet where all cats have their origin. Before he is born, when he is still an idea, Katywite does something that is against the rules on his planet. For punishment, his parents are commanded not to let him be born. Instead, they package everything needed into a pod for Katywite to become himself and send him to our planet. Obviously, they did this because they loved him very, very much. 

On Earth, Katywite's fetus is incubated in a type of fungus related to a cannon fungus, and because of this, he sees plant life as his surrogate family. Once he is born, Katywite grows through a series of painful metamorphoses to attain super feline attributes, and becomes somewhat of an ambassador for the rights of the green life on the planet.

The villains of my story are the Slugbots. They are little creatures who are part slug, part human, and part computer.  The Slugbots eat plants, and destroy life around them, because they are very, very evil. They are not just wrecking things because they want to survive; they just like to cause pain and destruction because they can. The Slugbots are so numerous and strong, that the plants and other living things have no single effective weapon to defend themselves. 

Katywite becomes their only hope.

Erin Mulligan — Artist Statement

Make sure you notice the way life feels, sounds, looks, tastes and especially remember how it smells. When you notice these things, you will find the happiness of being a living thing; it’s basic. 

Think, think, think until there is barely anything left of the original thought. Sometimes this is a horrible idea, but sometimes you will get to see ordinary things from impossible perspectives. 

The exploration of human existence, and its interactions and reactions with other beings and forces, is very important to me, and ought to be (in my opinion) if someone is to become successful at voicing their world through visual art. 

I see my paintings as symphonies, only not as grand. Frozen in space, each one is the whole orchestra playing their sounds and noises all at once, only to be perceived as occurring in succession when the viewer's eye unravels it. As the composer, I have the ability to manipulate the thing however I like. So I also have this responsibility to create art which people can identify with; something we all understand as being what human life is about. 

In my experience, life is never only one thing at a time. My happy times are also sad, and when I am angry, that anger is tainted by self-loathing. It is always difficult for me to try to figure out what my own paintings mean, but I think they are trying to say "life". 

Life that is human, and thinking, beautiful, intelligent, scary, good, bad, gross, ugly, lovely, rough, smelly, and delicious.

~ Erin Mulligan, March 2014


In conjunction with the High School Art Exhibition (March 21 - April 13, 2014), admission to this exhibition is FREE to the public between March 21 and April 30.

Beginning May 1, regular admission to all new exhibits will be $6 Adults; $4, Seniors and Students (with valid I.D.); Museum Members are Free; and Children 12 and under, Free. Contact the Museum at 330.453.7666, or visit www.cantonart.org for complete exhibit and event details.