Get to know the work of James G. Mundie whose pieces are featured in our current exhibition " A Leap of Faith".
Mundie draws intimate pen-and-ink portraits of people who were “born different” and made their living exploiting the curiosity of those who would gawk at them. In lush compositions blended with references from art history, Mundie depicts real people who worked in the freakshows that were once part of every circus and carnival midway. In Mundie’s work, humor and empathy combine to restore dignity to sideshow royalty.
Mundie takes these real people and pairs them with a famous historical artwork, creating new histories and a pairing of "high" and "low " cultures.
This drawing was inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci's "Lady with an Ermine". Unlike the original, the woman in this piece holds a two headed kitten. Although it is a rare pheomenon for these kittens to be born, the spead at which news travels over the internet these days makes it seem more freqeunt. Coincidentally, just as James was finishing up this drawing, a new two headed kitty was making the news.
Carrie akers stood 34 inches tall and weighed 309 pounds. Here, Mundie uses Edouard Manet's "Young lady in 1866" for inspiration and puts Carrie center stage as the female figure.
The inspiration for this drawing came from a lithograph found in an antique medical journal. In that illustration, the patient holds a pose nearly identical to the woman in Francisco Goya's Young Lady Wearing a Mantilla and Basquiña (circa 1800). Even the facial features were similar; but the expressions were rather different. The woman in the medical text seemed embarrassed, whereas Goya's subject appears quietly confident.
These images grew out of several interests: an affinity for portraiture, a passion for art history, and a natural curiosity for pathology. The series continues to evolve.