Maybe it comes down to the primal urges of fear, desire and hunger. “The Beast Within: Images of Animals in Tattoo and Contemporary Art,” curated by artist Fred Stonehouse, looks at the influences of tattoo practice on artists. Tapping into the timeless human fascination with animals as metaphors of power, freedom and virility, these images act as totems of mythical strength and mystery. Artists such as Mike Noland and the great CJ Pyle, obsessive master of the ink pen, never fail to pack a visual wallop. Throw in Milwaukee tattoo artist Jon Reiter alongside the eminent California-based tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy – whose designs are on everything from T-shirts to air fresheners – and you have an exhibition as wild as its title.
“The Beast Within: Images of Animals in Tattoo and Contemporary Art” (July 12-Sept. 7). Tory Folliard Gallery. 233 N. Milwaukee St., 414-273-7311, toryfolliard.com.