Creatures that rule the dusk and dawn

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by Kate C
Publish date
16 May 2011
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The City Gallery at the Melbourne Town Hall is crawling with possums, owls, moths and other twilight creatures in the new exhibition, Crepuscular. Here you can observe the animals that often escape our notice as we rush home from work or retreat from winter to cosier climates indoors.

Curated by honorary Museum Victoria associate, John Kean, the exhibition includes specimens and Prodromus illustrations on loan from MV, and specially-commissioned taxidermy by Dean Smith (who also works as a senior museum preparator). There are also new artworks by local artists Alexis Beckett, Mali Moir, and John Pastoiza-Pinol,and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the exquisite portraits of invertebrates by botanical artist Dianne Emery.

Emperor Gum Moth Emperor Gum Moth eggs, caterpillar, adult, cocoon and imago, Opodiphthera eucalypti 2011. Watercolour on Kelmscott vellum 25x 20 cm
Image: Dianne Emery
Source: Dianne Emery
 

Crepuscular presents a fascinating picture of the life in urban Melbourne that exists and persists despite – but sometimes because of – human activity. For every loser there's a winner: clearing habitat has caused the loss of many species (such as quolls, which remained in remnant populations at Kew's Studley Park until just a few decades ago) but plantings of exotic trees have been a boon for others. An abundance of fruit trees drew in the Grey-headed Flying Foxes for the first time, while Powerful Owls have emerged from the forests to take up residence in city parks and grow fat on the possums.

Crepuscular is on at the City Gallery until 6 July 2011. Be sure to find the spot in the room where all eyes are upon you...

Links:

City Gallery at Melbourne Town Hall

Question of the Week: Emperor Gum Moth

Emperor Gum Moth on Caught and Coloured

The Age: 'Critters of the night shift'

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