Fresh Water Mermaids of North America is a 22" x 28", full color, signed and numbered, unframed, gloss poster by Jenny Mathews.
Done in the style of classic fish posters this fun psudo-scientific field study depicts seventeen freshwater mermaids such as the "Lass Perch", the "Maiden Bluegill" and the gregarious "Mississippi Queen Catfish". Great for any mermaid lover or fisherman.
Original prints 11/20 available at 317 Studio & Gallery. e-mail Jenny1386atGmail.com to inquire.
Freshwater Mermaids are something I started working on when doing a public art
project for the city of Beloit,
WI, when I painted my first river mermaid.
In thinking about our local waterways, it occurred to me the mermaids we are
accustomed to seeing are ocean mermaids.
We see them starring in movies, advertisements and in popular culture
all around us. This same pop-culture has
taught us mermaids have long flowing locks complimented by beautiful sparkly and
graceful bodies, but I looked again at the river I grew up near, the Rock River
of Northern Illinois. Some of the largest and deepest fresh water collectives
are right here in North America. I began to wonder what might be lurking right
beneath our noses in the heartland, perhaps something a little different from
what we have come to expect of a mermaid.
I surmised, if freshwater mermaids live far north in the
Great Lakes and the areas deep rivers that obviously, as proven by their
illusive nature and given the intrinsic feature of a lake being all enclosed,
fresh water mermaids do not migrate in the winter. Smaller, cold-blooded swimmers, with gills,
best tolerate staying in their same habitat during cold and icy months by moving
towards the bottom of lakes and rivers. Therefore,
while the famed oceanic mermaids have lungs and tails that move up and down
like other warm-blooded swimmers, freshwater mermaids have gills, a smaller
stature and vertical tails that propel with a side-to-side movement like most cold-blooded
swimmers. In response to the utterly
contained habitats that these freshwater mermaids experience, generation after
generation in the same lakes, they have become extremely specialized with
unique adaptations, spines and extra fins abound much like the evolution of
animals on an island. Some of the
smaller lakes are constrictive and the food supply limited causing the species
residing there to be surprisingly small as seen in the few specimens we have in
museums referred to as Fiji Mermaids.
Once I realized what I was looking for, it was easy to document what Freshwater
Mermaids look like. Their once illusive
figures and faces revealed themselves to me every day and I could hardly sketch
fast enough. Unlike their glamorous
saltwater sisters, they are as varied in shape, size, and character as the
women you see all around you.
Temporary Public Art outside of Bennie's Cleaners in Rockford, IL. This is part of Rockford's ART ATTACK series going on all summer. This is one of three I've done down-town. The unofficial title is "Red's Little Black Heart", it's acrylic paint on glass.
"Freshwater Mermaids of North America" It's what I'm spending my summer working on and the show is Friday, August 1st, 2014. These are sneak peak sketches of something I'm so obsessed with and it's so huge and awesome I'm dreaming about it. The show is at 317 Market St. Rockford, IL and some of the prints will be available online later in the month.