Frenz at Fleisher-Ollman

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The standout piece at Fleisher/Ollman‘s Frenz exhibit is more than a standout. It’s outta heeeere.

The exhibit includes work by 11 artists selected by singer-songwriter Will Oldham, aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. The work in the show is a suprising mix of homey and slick, the result of what I imagine is one guy’s personal taste mixed with loyalty to his posse of frenz.

But after seeing Lori Damiano’s video animation, Lord I: The Records Keeper, 2003-2009, I think I want to be frenz with her, even though she lives on the West Coast.

Lori Damiano, Lord I: The Records Keeper, 2003-2009, animation, 14:15, 3rd state
Lori Damiano, Lord I: The Records Keeper, 2003-2009, animation, 14:15, 3rd state


She is mining mythology and fairytales, using archetypal themes like journeys, Pandora’s box, the house in the forest, the decision at the crossroads, etc. etc. The story book drawing is charming–a forest of Mr. Softee cone-shaped trees, flat dollops of curls, chunky figures.

Lori Damiano, Lord I: The Records Keeper, 2003-2009, animation, 14:15, 3rd state
Lori Damiano, Lord I: The Records Keeper, 2003-2009, animation, 14:15, 3rd state

The end result is wonderful–although it’s apparently not really the end result. John Ollman told me the video, which Damiano has been working on since 2003, had to practically be wrested out of her hands. She was still madly at work when the show was about to open. Yo, Lori, it’s perfect. Let it go and move on (not that she’s been unproductive; you can check out her website, but it’s a little slow-loading).

One of the comics in Kramer's Ergot 7, 2008, Sammy Harkham, ed. (I don't know who did this particular page), hardcover, 96 pp. full-color, 21 x 16 inches, compilation book by numerous contributors
One of the comics in Kramer’s Ergot 7, 2008, Sammy Harkham, ed. (I don’t know who did this particular page), hardcover, 96 00. full-color, 21 x 16 inches, compilation book by numerous contributors

A beautiful compilation book of comics, all two-page spreads, from a wide range of artists, including Matt Groening, was edited by Frenz contributor and ultra-hot comics artist Sammy Harkham. Kramer’s Ergot 7 blew me away, and you can see the complete list of who contributed to the book on the link here. Harkham, who’s a productive life-force of his own,  also contributed a number of his own comics in book and drawing formats, including the books Crickets #2 and Poor Sailor.

Abel Brown, Christ on Water, 2009, ink, watercolor and typewriter ink on paper, 9 1/2 x 8 inches
Abel Brown, Christ on Water, 2009, ink, watercolor and typewriter ink on paper, 9 1/2 x 8 inches

On the funky side of cartooning, I enjoyed drawings from Kyle Field and Abel Brown. Brown is more about the human condition, and his irreverent Christ as a surfer dude seems like a good, down-to-earth explanation for walking on water.

Kyle Field, A Place in the Park, 2008, ink, watercolor on paper, 7 x 8 3/4 inches
Kyle Field, 2008, ink, watercolor on paper,

Field has a sharp eye on the culture, drawing the world and people around him. But the people look like medieval peasants–as if they are Renaissance Faire reenactors in Midtown Manhattan.

Shary Boyle, detail Moon Hunter , 2009, paper, ink, tissue, mac-tac, acetate, pins, glitter, fabric, variable materials, with Netsuke, 2007, ink on paper, 11 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches on left
Shary Boyle, detail Moon Hunter , 2009, paper, ink, tissue, mac-tac, acetate, pins, glitter, fabric, variable materials, with Netsuke, 2007, ink on paper, 11 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches on left

An installation by Shary Boyle, Moon Hunter, is theatrical and stylish. In another part of her life, she draws live on an overhead projector during concerts, including during Will Oldham’s, so theatrical effects must be on her mind. In her installation here, the central figure, a 2-D woman dressed in a part 3-D hip take on men’s Elizabethan clothing, works at a wired-up computer-ish screen. The look is storybook dreamy–a trope emphasized by using the two sides of the wall, like the front and back of a page and like the inside and outside of a house. On the reverse side of the wall, a single tower emits a blinking signal that appears to go out to a starry universe of glitter. The contemporary hyperconnectivity mixed with loneliness and yearning is almost buried in the glib beauty.

Shary Boyle, detail of the reverse side of the wall, Moon Hunter, 2009, paper, ink, tissue, mac-tac, acetate, pins, glitter, fabric, variable materials
Shary Boyle, detail of the reverse side of the wall, Moon Hunter, 2009, paper, ink, tissue, mac-tac, acetate, pins, glitter, fabric, variable materials

Frenz, on view through the end of the summer, also includes work by Jill Gallenstein, Alan Licht, Ashley Macomber, Joanne Oldham, Leslie Shows and Spencer Sweeney.

Tags

abel brown, fleisher-ollman gallery, kyle field, lori damiano, sammy harkham, shary boyle

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