Los Angeles-based animator Miwa Matreyek completed the above film, entitled “Dreaming of Lucid Living,” as her thesis in the CalArts Experimental Animation program. I am completely blown away by it. I’m not entirely sure how it was made, but it seems to combine live performance with both pre-made animations as well as semi-autonomous, rule based animations that update based on what a camera is seeing. The result is unlike anything I’ve seen before, completely living up to the “experimental” aspect of the program.
Ryan Everson’s installations speak to longing and loss and the desire for movement and displacement. There is something hopeful and comic about some of his work, accompanied by a tinge of despair as it addresses boundaries of what is and what could be. His work feels perpetually on the cusp of some sort of change or movement, of travel to another place, whether that be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Everson’s work embodies something of memory, though we can’t say of what, but that it definitely exudes a nostalgia for absent events or places. “My most recent work comes from abstract emotional states stirred up from specific self-reflective moments. These moment arise as I become more aware of myself in the present and my inability to control the future.”
Jeahyo Lee’s work falls somewhere between functional furniture and sculpture. His massive wooden benches and chairs weight between 400-1000 pounds and its smooth curves can compete with the latest sports cars. When not using wood Lee turns to steel creating densely patterned orbs out of stainless steel nails which reference coral reefs and the textures that we find deep underwater. Lee’s work is not only is masterfully crafted but brings out the inner nature of the materials that he uses.
Beautifully surreal paintings and drawings by Lionel Williams.
Much to my surprise (and slight disappointment) Crufts is decidedly pleasant. I half expected to capture malicious owners that looked fully like their pets. But the impression is of a prosaic middle-England gathering of weekend enthusiasts. The dog owners are friendly and, dare I say it, normal. Although they trim their dogs’ heads into perfect spheres and their tails into cascades of pure silk they couldn’t be more down to earth. They remind me of Sunday gardeners who trim their hedges into the shape of leaping dolphins and then go inside to watch Antiques Roadshow on TV. The vast halls, despite being full of thousands of different breeds are strangely quiet and more surprising than this – almost turd-free. The merchandising stalls, which sit around the perimeter of the space and sell marginally tasteless doggy-tat (buy two bottles of ‘Urine-off’ and receive a free 100% fish-based dog chew) are harmless enough. And amongst this the dogs themselves seem to be willing, as if they too have read the convention guide and know they must wait their turn to appear on the green carpet.
Los Angeles’ own Lord Huron released their debut album yesterday, Lonesome Dreams on IAMSOUND Records. The good people at NPR Music have the whole record streaming so you can listen before you buy it. I caught them this past August when they opened for CULTS at MOCA and loved the new songs. Check out their video for Time to Run and grab a ticket to one of their upcoming live performances, you won’t be disappointed.
Working out of Melbourne, Australian photographer Jessica Tremp produces some lovely creative pieces. Her technique is rather dusty, as if her work was produced some sixty years ago; complementing her taxidermic subjects and derelict settings. Each piece impresses the viewer with unsettling beauty.
The surrealist artist Cristina Burns creates tiny, magical worlds made of skulls, toys, and delightfully kitschy knickknacks; her series Through the Mirror appeals to the subconscious mind, inviting viewers to engage with seemingly disparate materials that together form a strangely cohesive narrative. Inspired in part by the Oniric movement, the bizarre and delightfully pink work allows viewers to make surprising associations within carefully constructed scenes; the familiar and the frightful work in tandem, frantically blurring the lines between fantasy and reality.
Burns’s images, imbued with the innocent connotations of budding flowers, baby deer figurines, and Victorian lace, introduce comically dark elements: a round eyeball, brains served on a platter with a fork. Together, the delightful and the dangerous work to create arrangements that might be viewed as manic and surreal altars to the dead. In one elegant image, a skeleton attracts the attentions of a large beetle, an insect often symbolic of decay, with the presence of budding funereal flowers and sweets.
The meticulous symmetry of Burns’s compositions heightens the idea of supernatural harmony between purity and sin, between life and death. Much of the work centers around a symbol of man and especially womankind’s fallenness: Eve or Snow White’s skull bites an apple, or a mermaid figurine peers woefully at a deteriorating skull at her feet. In this state of death and corruption, there exists too a powerful sense of play, as seen through delicate china mice, candy hearts, and Disney princess dolls. In this way, Burns’s imaginative and feminine dreamscapes capture the allure of mischief, for in our disobedience and fallenness lies a magical sort of madness and celebration.