They Travel Together

Leslie Schomp - Mary Kenny - Andrea Olmstead


They Travel Together brings together the work of three artists–Mary Kenny, Andrea Scofield Olmstead, and Leslie Schomp–whose drawings and sculpture all seek to shorten the imaginary and experiential distance between humans and animals.


On view: April 1 through June 13, 2021

They Travel Together is on view at ArtsWorcester at the Davis Art Gallery and online beginning Thursday, April, 2021. Gallery capacity will be limited to fifteen visitors at any time, and all visitors are required to wear masks or face coverings. Gallery visitors are required to reserve a free, ninety-minute appointment in advance on Eventbrite before entering. ArtsWorcester gallery hours run Thursdays through Sundays, 12:00 to 5:00 PM. This exhibition will be on view through Sunday, June 13.


In this expansive artist talk, the three artists reflect on their inspirations and engage in a captivating discourse. Topics include personal histories, gendered symbolism, and disarming experiences in the wild.

The relationship between humans and animals is fascinating, alternating between fear and love. We depend on animals to help us survive. They feed us, clothe us, work the land, help us fight wars, and carry us across great distances. They are symbolic and spiritual representatives. We are alternately cruel and kind, making them fear or love us. We treasure our pets, but kill other animals for food, in fear, and for sport. In They Travel Together, Leslie Schomp, Mary Kenny, and Andrea Olmstead address this complex relationship by exploring their identities, dreams, symbols, and memories through various animals, and invite us to look at them, and ourselves, differently.

The work in this exhibition fluctuates between animals as “other” and “same.” In Elephants on the Edge, G.A. Bradshaw says, “To see individual elephants and their cultures, and to witness, if not through their eyes, through, as the Fox from Le Petit Prince suggests, the heart. A way of seeing that meets elephants through the lens of a new paradigm, a trans-species way of knowing that we are “kin under the skin” (pg. 21).

Each artist both draws and sculpts. Drawing acts as a wide net to catch ideas that the artist can then edit into sculptural moments. Drawing also allows full and quick use of the imagination, whereas sculpting is a committed and lengthy process. These artists find drawing helps to refine the sculptor’s eye. By drawing various lighting on subjects, one sees planes and intimate moments of form that translate into clay or cloth. Drawing inspires and challenges the artists to push their sculptural materials more fully and imaginatively. The two processes are a necessary complement to each other.

Mary Kenny, Wasp Woman

stoneware, paper, wire,

23" x 17" x 13", 2021, $1,800

Andrea Olmstead, The Procession

ceramic stoneware, 12” h x 18” w x 7.5” d, 2018, $2,000

Andrea Olmstead, Ascendancy

ceramic stoneware, 15” h x 13” w x 9.5” d, 2021, $2,500

Mary Kenny’s “odd experiences, strange thoughts, and recurring dreams” fuel all of her sculptures. While her female sculptures may not look like her, they represent her. Animals have always been featured in her work, but it is her recent work that seeks to record experiences in her life. She has travelled extensively and seen animals from around the world.

Mary Kenny, Capybara, Cat, And Coot


20" x 28" x 12", 2019, $2,100

Mary Kenny, Five Heads (Man, Moose, Shark, Walrus)

sculpey, wood, wire, paper, fabric,

4' x 4', 2021, Not For Sale

Mary Kenny, Pregnant Woman

stoneware, underglaze, 8" x 2" x 2", 2020, $375

Mary Kenny, Five Heads (Whale)

sculpey, wood, wire, paper, fabric,

4' x 4', 2021, Not For Sale

Animal skins have long held a fascination and fear for humans. We hunt, wear, pet and fear the skins of many animals. The artists in this exhibition reflect on this in various ways.

Andrea Olmstead’s charcoal drawings record not only the textures of the creatures and humans but also the world around them. Her environments are full of old wood, hair, peeling wallpaper, tin, rust, and crackled paint that all emerge from the charcoal. Her work contains the memories of places and the interactions of their characters. Mary Kenny often mixes the clay of her creations with fur, hair, and textiles. Couture and fashion are suggested in both the gestures of her female sculptures and in the animals they interact with. Leslie Schomp’s drawings and sculptures are obsessed with how animal skin (chicken and elephant skin, horse hair, fox fur) can translate into drawn line or sewn edges. She is interested in subjecting the self to the condition of another, and in doing so, finds an empathy with other creatures.

Leslie Schomp, Elephant Girl, Drawing Series

pen on paper,

11” x 14”, 2013, $500

Leslie Schomp, Elephant Girl, Drawing Series

pen on paper,

11” x 14”, 2013, $500

Leslie Schomp, Elephant Girl, Drawing Series

pen on paper,

11” x 14”, 2013, $500

Mary Kenny, Lady With Hare

stoneware, cotton fabric, felted wool,

12" x 3" x 3", 2019, $850

Leslie Schomp, Chicken Girl With Fox Fur

stitched portrait bust,

25” x 8” x 8”, 2019, not for sale

Leslie Schomp, We Are The Mirror As Well As The Face

stitched cloth, 22” x 20” x 8”, 2020, $6,500

Leslie Schomp, Horse Girl With Morning Glory

stitched portrait bust,

23” x 12” x 12”, 2016, $3,500

Leslie Schomp’s drawings and sculptures are self-portraits that investigate animal behavior. In order to develop self-awareness, Schomp portrays herself as popular literary animal archetypes such as a cunning fox, protective elephant or loyal dog. She is particularly interested in animals that are associated with insulting names for women. Her hybrid drawings and sculptures question whether we project these traits onto animals or are we just simply alike. She explores the primary experiences that both animals and humans have, such as hunger, protection of family, fear, depression, joy, aging, and love.

Leslie Schomp, Horse Girl, Chicken Skin Girl And Mermaid (Set Of 3 Drawings)

ink and pen on paper, each drawing

is 11” x 14”, 2016, not for sale

Mary Kenny, Adam & Eve

stoneware, gouache,

12" x 10" x 6", 2020, $800

Leslie Schomp, Two Ways Of Running

stitched cloth sculpture,

15” x 25” x 19 “, 2020, not for sale

Animals play a role in our lives from a very young age. We learn about the world through toys and stories that feature animals acting out human behavior. The theme of animals in children’s literature recurs throughout this exhibition. Very young children don’t necessarily see animals as different but as an extension of their human world. These three artists attempt to regain this sense of “extension” in their work.

The relationship between animals and childhood is explored in the work of Andrea Scofield Olmstead, who is writing a book about cockroaches attempting to care for a neglected young girl living in the South. Olmstead, who despises the insects, writes that they symbolize “self-sufficiency, genetic adaptability, and resilience to trauma”; they also make an unlikely pair with the heroine. Bringing these two characters together is believable in this beautifully drawn world. We are able to enter into the underlying pain and trauma of this girl’s abandonment and allow the insects to pick up the pieces in a way that would be daunting to most. Olmstead uses her daughter’s likeness for the main character and her memories of the South where she grew up, both visual memories and life memories of watching children around her grow up in difficult situations. Olmstead also works with wolves and alligators in her sculptural works. By choosing creatures that inspire fear and awe, she explores her own roots and feelings.

Andrea Olmstead, Miss Mable Frets

charcoal, 16” x 10”, 2016, not for sale

Andrea Olmstead, Mary, Marthie, And Ruby Worry Over Anna

charcoal, 11” x 13.5”,

framed is 29" x 23", 2013, not for sale

Andrea Olmstead, Anna Meets Miss Mable

charcoal, 16” x 10”, framed is 29" x 23", 2013, not for sale

Andrea Olmstead, The Introduction

charcoal, 9” x 16”, framed is 29" x 23", 2013, not for sale

Andrea Olmstead, Tangled

charcoal, 15” x 11.5”, framed is 29" x 23", 2013, not for sale

Andrea Olmstead, Drawing Room

charcoal, 14” x 21.5”, framed is 29" x 23", 2014, not for sale

Andrea Olmstead, Precipice

ceramic earthenware, 20” h x 11” w x 9” d, 2016, not for sale

Andrea Olmstead, Some Girl

ceramic earthenware, 20” h x 13” w x 10” d, 2015, $2000

This project has been supported by a grant from the Artist's Resource Trust Fund, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.