Mary Esch is a Twin Cities-based painter whose narrative images portray figures, often seemingly drawn from stories and fables. The artist prefers to leave the strange and seductive scenes that are often depicted in her works open to interpretation. Many of her paintings and drawings, however, contain subtle allusions to such literary sources as the fables of the Brothers Grimm. In a 1997 exhibition organized by the Walker (where Esch was featured with artist Daniel Oates), she chose to rewrite the classic children’s tale Little Red Riding Hood, creating a wallpaper installation entitled The Hyena Repeat. Comprised of a cycle of nine images, for which the drawings on view here are studies, this work depicts a sequence of events whereby the heroine stumbles upon a hyena who consumes her. She is not, however, saved by a timely woodsman, but manages to cut her way out of the belly of the beast herself.
Copyright 2000 Walker Art Center