Gretchen Lewis // THE MANDRAKE & THE MATAGOT
feature • August 5th - 27th, 2016
The concept for Gretchen Lewis’ first Arch Enemy Arts feature came to life in her sketchbooks over the last few months, a narrative involving shape-shifting trickster spirits who take the form of black cats, and their relationship to a small host of other characters, who represent different personal aspects of both Gretchen and humanity in general, mostly fragility, vulnerability, and resilience. Gretchen’s growing obsession with the mythology surrounding mandrakes drove how they have worked their way into this larger narrative, often being used as a kind of nemesis of the black cat creatures, who want to possess and use the mandrakes for their own selfish purposes.
Completing the theme is the legend of the Matagot, the French version of a trickster spirit, which can take the form of a few different black animals, but mostly appears as a cat. Matagots are generally malevolent, but can sometimes be helpful, and is said to bring wealth to a person who can capture it or tame it by giving it food.
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Gretchen Lewis"The Mandrake & The Matagot" (2016)
oil on illustration board
12 x 20" framed to 18 x 24.5"