The first time Forest Giant threw open the doors to its Butchertown studio doors for a group art show in 2011, the boutique interactive design company was celebrating its first birthday and a rebranding project that led the staff to ask some of their favorite local visual artists to interpret their name. Two years later, they had the itch to showcase the design side of their identity again with “Wild Echoes,” a group exhibition featuring 40 artists working with a woodsy theme.
“We’re design as much as development,” says Rich Merwarth, the interactive designer who organized the show with input from the 17-person staff, who all suggested their favorite artists for inclusion.
The fun of a group show is seeing how different artists work with the same theme. “Wild Echoes” touches on ecological issues, philosophical conundrums, fairy tales and myth, contemporary masculinity, relationship struggles and the feathery line that the forest can walk between whimsy and danger. There’s sculpture, photography, painting, illustration, pinstriping, 2-D paper cuts and even a pixelated old-school Nintendo-style video installation.
Sara Turner is best known for her Lexington design and print shop Cricket Press, but she contributed three 3-D wall-mounted laser-cut wood sculptures to the show. One, “The Watchers,” contains many small surprises hidden among and under the trees. Louisville’s Kathleen Lolley’s creepy-cute anthropomorphic animals (“Ritual On the Mound”) are a natural fit for the theme, while Ted Nathanson’s surprising illustrations fold out into a diorama-like children’s book (“Forest”). Typh Hainer Merwarth’s “Going to Grandma’s” reinterprets the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale with a fiber piece (the red cloak) exhibited alongside a series of photographs. A large sign by State Champs (Tyler Kreft and Amanda Bishop) simply commands “Go Outside!”
“Wild Echoes” is a limited engagement — the show is open until 7 p.m. today and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. tomorrow at Forest Giant’s Butchertown studio in The Pointe (1205 E. Washington St.).