Gary & Laura Dumm: Here There Be Monsters

OCTOBER 7 - OCTOBER 25, 2016

A Cautionary Series of Environmental Artworks: Popular culture has encouraged the legend that mapmakers in the Middle Ages would designate unexplored areas on their maps with the dire words of warning "Here there be monsters." The unknown can indeed be frightening and monstrous.

Laura and Gary Dumm are creating new maps for environmental consciousness with their "pop-surrealist" art series using iconic images of movie monsters to help point the way. These sometimes innocent fictional creatures were often the misbegotten byproducts ("unintended consequences") of scientific experimentation, water and air pollution, global warming and climate change, genetic engineering, for profit destruction of animal habitats leading to extinctions, pesticides and pollinator decline are "monstrous" and all-too-real consequences of human activity.

Opening Reception: Friday, October 7 from 5-9 pm


Legend has it that Middle Age cartographers brandished words of warning on the unexplored areas of their maps. “Here There Be Monsters; Dragons Be Here.” However, modern times can reveal the known to be more ghastly than the unknown as Laura and Gary Dumm explore in their latest environmental pop-surrealist art series.Iconic movie monsters, who were often the by-products of corporate greed and human egotism manipulating nature to spawn our own annihilation, are used to present the consequences of pollution, climate change, genetic engineering, for profit destruction of animal habitats, and extinctions.

We are mutating into the monsters devouring our world.

For more information, contact the Dumms: 216-961-0230 or email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

CLICK HERE for details about what's happening in each painting.

About the Artists and this Series

Ripping relevant issues from the news and putting them onto canvas, the Dumms hope their latest collaboration will start conversations and promote awareness. The couple catch the viewers’ attention with their brightly colored pop surrealist work and inspire them to ponder the ramifications of society’s actions.

Working on the same canvases, the partners discuss meaning and content. Gary researches the topics and sketches each piece. After further discussion, he makes revisions and the final sketches before they both OK it. He then transfers the drawing onto the canvas where Laura takes over with the painting. The process often includes additions and changes; by the time she has completed the painting, he has another ready for her.

“It really works out wonderfully because we both have strong but very different talents to bring to the canvas table,” Laura explained.

The pair worked on a show about current issues together in 2013-2014 called The Fame Shame Blame Game, tackling subjects like greed, corporate outsourcing, prescription drug abuse, the American dream, and other newsworthy subjects.

“It was wild seeing the people at the opening and closings talking about the paintings and actually discussing things other than the wine and cheese that we served,” she said.

The experience inspired them to do a series on current environmental concerns. The duo wanted to create educational tools to bring light to problems like GMOs and pesticides, and ask questions like “what would happen if we lost the bees?” or “how have our oceans and bodies of water been affected by oil spills and discarded plastics?”

Gary came up with the idea to use classic horror monsters as immediately recognizable and relatable figures of science experiments gone wrong.

“Young children can relate to them not just because of the monsters, but because they know about the environment and they CARE about these issues,” Laura said of the paintings. “Adults are drawn to them because they remember the monsters from their childhood and are concerned about what kind of future their children will have on Mother Earth.”

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