From majestic oil paintings of galloping steeds to National Geographic-like portraits of lions and apes, beasts small and large, wild and domestic, have played a significant role in art throughout history.

In conjunction with the Gibbes’s exhibit on famed 18th century naturalist Mark Catesby, Artist, Scientist, Explorer: Mark Catesby in the Carolinas, there will be an exhibit, Out of the Wild: Animals in Contemporary Art, exploring the role animals play in art today.

Eighteen featured works by William Dunlap, Walton Ford, and Grainger McKoy will be on display from May 12 through September 24. The works cover a range of mediums including mixed media, sculpture, and painting and address how the artists use animal imagery to explore larger, complex themes of contemporary cultural, from political to social, psychological, and spiritual.

Executive director of the Gibbes Angela Mack says about the convergence of the two exhibits, “[Out of the Wild] complements the 18th century watercolors of Mark Catesby to showcase a diverse collection of artists and techniques with animals and nature as the central theme.”

To glean insight into the artist process, swing by the Gibbes on May 24 for a signing and talk on Dunlap’s new book, Short Mean Fiction: Words and Pictures.