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I just got back from a whirlwind trip to NYC to catch the Brothers Quay exhibit before it disappeared. We saw it on the 5th. It came down on the 7th.

The Brothers Quay were a huge inspiration to me when I first started making dolls. When asked, I often say that Japanese doll artists were my inspiration, but the Brothers Quay and Jan Švankmajer fall in line quickly as a second and are probably a more important influence because of the context of their work.

Being a fan of their puppets and stop motion, seeing their exhibit at the MOMA was profound. I walked away with a greater understanding of the Quays as, not only stop motion animators, but as extremely versatile artists.

So a few highlights of what I really adored about the exhibit:

  • The color of the walls and lighting. I know it seems silly but I recently had a conversation with a painter about the white wall trend in museums and galleries, his opinion was that white walls don’t flatter most work. I have to be honest, the color of gallery walls never occurred to me, but it was fresh on my mind when I walked into the Quay exhibit. The walls were painted dark grey and there was no strong overhead light, everything was spot lit. It was so atmospheric and fitting for the style of the Quays but really – hats off to the curators who had to find a way to incorporate films – which need darkness to enjoy them – and light – to enjoy the exhibit. It was easy to move between the films and the artwork.

  • I adored the sentimental touches. They made a display of the more personal objects in their studio: the Polish posters that they wallpapered their first studio with and would strongly influence their style.

  • A new understanding and appreciation for their stop motion film “In Absentia“. “A seated woman, alone… in a room on one of the top floors of an asylum, repeatedly writes on a piece of paper and sharpens pencils. The pencil point often breaks under her fingers’ force. She places the broken points outside the window on the sill. A satanic figure is somewhere nearby, animated and made of straw or clay, not flesh… She finishes her writing, tears the paper from the pad, folds it, places it in an envelope, and slips it through a slot that contains many more letters.” (wiki). The letters simply contain the words “Sweetheart Come” written over and over itself until it is almost illegible. The woman was Emma Hauck, a real woman diagnosed with dementia praecox in the late 1800’s. In the exhibit was the actual letter (which really did look like neat but demented scribbling) and photographs of the woman and the husband that the letters were addressed to.

  • An introduction to all of their sooty black, detailed illustrations and graphic design work for books and albums

  • The bunny and doll from the His Name is Alive music video “Are We Still Married” that the brothers directed.

  • We got to the MOMA on Friday evening and didn’t realize that between 4 and 8pm on Friday nights admission is free (sponsored by Target). Getting in free is AWESOME but our time frame to see the exhibit was short and the line to get in wrapped entirely around the building. So we stood in line for a half hour or more when we would have just as happily paid to get in. Closing time at the MOMA was like rats trying to scurry from a burning building. It was kind of crazy (shown above are the escalators filled with people trying to simply leave).

    Because of the crunch of people, the attendants were everywhere, constantly moving amongst us saying “No pictures! No pictures!” There was no choice but to obey. Luckily other folks were able to visit when the environment was less intense and they got some great shots of the exhibit. If you are on Pinterest, feel free to follow my “Brothers Quay” board where I have a collection of interviews, great shots of the exhibit, and video clips:

    http://pinterest.com/strangedolls/brothers-quay/

    Good way to start 2013!

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On the Sunday after the Art of Horror opening, Sarah Vogelsang-Card and I trekked over to the Winooski Welcome Center and Pop Up Galleries to set up our Halloween window installation called “Lost Dolls”. It is a preview of the collaborative show we will be doing next August at the Backspace Gallery. It will be on display all month at 39 Main Street in Winooski, VT (the first set of big windows on the round-a-bout).

Sarah’s husband Jay, was unbelievably instrumental in the hanging process and their son Zarek, was a calm surveyor of the whole scene. I don’t think the windows would have come together without the whole Vogelsang-Card family.

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I have two dolls in this show. I’ve been working on them for some time. I am hoping to have more available… as soon as I have some more free time from shows 🙂 I am joined in this show by Shain Erin and Nichole Dickerson among others.

Deviant Dolls

Click for larger views:

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AND I had the honor of creating the Ringmaster for the whole affair! I will also have a few of the aforementioned Specimen Boxes, one of the Spider dolls, and a Dr Scops on display (Sideshow treats of course). Speaking of sideshow, Shain Erin will also have some strange creations in there as well.

“CIRCUS” Show runs from:
Tuesday, June 16, 10 a.m – Saturday, July 25, 5 p.m.

Reception: Friday, June 19
5:30–7:30 PM
Studio Place Arts
Barre, Vermont

I will see you there!

The Ringmaster: Mixed Media, 17 inches tall

The Ringmaster

PRESS RELEASE
The Circus Comes to Studio Place Arts

Studio Place Arts (SPA) has brought dozens of funny and fabulous thematic exhibits to central Vermont over the years, including The Gun Show, The Boat Show, Maps and Journeys, and Forever Forests. The latest in this series of smash-hits is CIRCUS!, slated to run from June 16 – July 25, 2009, with an opening reception on Friday, June 19, from 5:30 – 7:30 PM.

There are three large, raised rings in the middle of the gallery, filled with circus acts in paper mache, clay, cloth, and porcelain figures B including elephants, trapeze artists, an audience of dogs by Beanie-the-dog artist David Klein, and a ringmaster by dollmaker Beth Robinson, who is currently exhibiting her work at Galerie Madame des Vosges in Paris. One of the rings is populated by clay whistle circus figures made by Delia Robinson, who sold one of her whistles several years ago to Bill Clinton for Hillary’s 50th birthday.

Adjacent parts of the gallery are devoted to images of aerialists in paintings and sculpture, to sideshow images B including strange things in bottles B and to clowns. One of the country=s foremost painters of sideshow banners, Toni-Lee Sangastiano, is showing both a six-foot sideshow banner and a painting, Last King of the Sideshow, Ward Hall, which just won an honorable mention in the Art Interview 16th International Online Artist Competition.

Other prominent artists represented in the show are Paul Graubard of Lenox, Massachusetts, whose work is in the permanent collection of the American Museum of Visionary Arts (AVAM) in Baltimore, Maryland, and Robin Croft of Manassas, Virginia, whose figures are made of found objects, many of which he finds on southern beaches.

The show is bound to delight young and old alike, and is open Tuesday – Friday, 10AM – 5PM, and Saturday from noon – 4PM. More information is available by calling 479-7069, or at www.studioplacearts.com

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My dolls are in the window on the pillars

My dolls are in the window on the pillars

From my dolls point of view

My dolls point of view

And the rest of the dolls in the shop, surrounded by the other exhibiting artists: Krisfoft, Kelly Louise Judd, Laetitia Miéral.

And the rest of the dolls in the shop, surrounded by the other exhibiting artists: Krisfoft, Kelly Louise Judd, Laetitia Miéral.

Tanith Hicks’ masks were displayed so beautifully on various busts, see more pics here.

Addendum:
Check out videos of the show (click here)!

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5×7 Shadow boxes headed out to Strychnin Gallery in Berlin. In this photo, the boxes are stacked on top of each other. One of the original designs for this idea was sold to the singer of The Prodigy.

5X7, Polymer clay, fabric

Specimen Boxes

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