Preview: Unpredictables show by Sare at the Cultural Arts Center

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From the July 5, 2012 edition

Armenian-born artist Saré has dreamed up a world in which men wear pink ferrets as hats and women ride curious winged creatures while in the buff. Bodies are bulbous and noses are long.

And the children? Cute … but creepy.

Visitors to Columbus’ Cultural Arts Center can meet these grotesque and whimsical characters when Saré presents her oil paintings and etchings July 6 through August 11.

Now a French citizen, the artist has lived in Paris since 1991. But she is no stranger to Columbus; Muse Gallery has represented her for six years.

Reached via email, Saré (aka Evgenia Sarkisian) said her characters are part of an enormous family possessing very similar characteristics, both physical and emotional. Using a precise drawing technique and watercolor-like palettes, she is able to create fairytale landscapes and stories.

“I wouldn’t say that my work has any underlying commentary,” she said. “The characters I create live in their own world; their morals, ideals and standards are different from ours. And at the same time, I believe that viewers can find themselves or something familiar to them in the characters.”

Saré describes her work as “grotesque realism,” and you might see influences by some 15th and 16th century Flemish painters who were known for exploring the grotesque. The subject in the 1513 painting “An Old Woman” by Flemish artist Quentin Massys could easily be an ancestor to some of Saré’s characters.

If you miss her show this summer, Saré said she plans a return to Columbus in June 2013 with a solo exhibition at Muse Gallery.