Beth Sistrunk, "Conjuring," oil on panel, 8 x 8 in.

This holiday season, New York based gallery Rehs Contemporary will present a selection of more than 50 small works as part of their exhibition, “Not A Creature Was Stirring,” highlighting furry friends and critters.

From the gallery:

The five participating artists include Stuart Dunkel, Tony South, Beth Sistrunk, Lucia Heffernan, and Kelly Houghton. While each artist has their own unique flair, all of these whimsical works are sure to brighten your day and bring some joy to your holiday celebration.

Stuart Dunkel, who is said to have completed more than 3,000 paintings in his career, will have a fresh set of works featuring his well-known muse, Chuckie the mouse. Among the bunch will be some of the classic subjects, like “Big Reach,” where Chuckie is stealing Oreos… or “Cupcake Caper,” which is rather self-explanatory.

Dunkel also got festive with a few pieces such as “The Gambler,” with Chuckie spinning a dreidel, and “Self Portrait,” where the little mouse catches his reflection in a shiny Christmas tree ornament. While the works are rather simple and straightforward, Dunkel has this unique ability to connect with his viewers, oftentimes making someone feel as if the work was made just for them.

Stuart Dunkel, “Cupcake Caper,” oil on panel, 6 x 8 in.

Tony South’s contribution is a new series of “head studies,” but they are not human heads. If you are familiar with South’s work, you would know he paints a preponderance of primates. With these small works, South notes he is able to explore and develop a multitude of characters.

In his 7 x 7 inch “Planets Aligned,” a young chimp is bundled up in his winter coat and hat, tongue out licking a spherical Lolli-pop with Mars in the distance, capturing a scene where these “celestial bodies” crossed paths for a brief moment.

Tony South, “Planets Aligned,” oil on paper, 7.5 x 7.5 in.

Kelly Houghton and Lucia Heffernan each paint an array of animals; Houghton’s cleverly titled 12×12’s instantly bring a smile to your face; her piece “So I Build,” with a determined beaver holding a new found stick, set before a community of homes in the distance; or “Shape Shifter” showing a fox mid-sprint as the background becomes a blur. Heffernan more so develops characters and narratives for her subjects, such as “Day Off,” where a chick is pampering herself, or “Distance Learning,” portraying a very studious young rabbit.

By bringing a voice to these creatures, the works become far more relatable as we see elements of ourselves, family or friends reflected in the works.

Lucia Heffernan, “Distance Learning,” oil on panel, 14 x 11 in.

Beth Sistrunk completes the quintet with a few felines: works like “Cool Cat,” with a ragdoll peering over the top of her heart-shaped sunglasses, and “Conjuring,” depicting two cats hunched over a glowing orb, truly capture the lively and mischievous essence of these kitties in a humorous and playful way.

The extensive and diverse exhibition is an animal lover’s delight. For more details, please visit

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