Friday, October 13, 2017

Odd Beauty and the Steampunk Abbess

I was fortunate to meet artist Paige Gardner, steampunk costume designer, at the Southampton Arts Center show. 
Paige was modeling a creation entitled Abbey.
Paige creates wearable works of art by repurposing found and salvaged material. In this costume, elements were salvaged from the ruins of the Birmingham, Alabama hurricane. The "stained glass" in her head gear, mask and shoulder epaulets are composed of pages from a coloring book. She creates freehand, assembling each costume sans machine, with scissors, glue, safety pins and tape. 

You are drawn in by the costume's drama and beauty. Closer examination reveals a subtext of menace and power. "Odd Beauty" indeed, Paige is the perfect Mistress of Ceremonies for this show.

Curated by Art Donovan
Presented by Amy Kerwin
Photo by Amy Kerwin
"Beginning with the re-imagined, visual language of the 19th Century Victorian Era, Steampunk now counts its inspirations as far back as the mechanical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci to the bold, streamlined locomotives of Raymond  Lowey. But what gives this art form its singular identity is the artists' visual and cultural fascination with mechanical, gear-driven technologies of the past. This exhibition presents works from the most notable Steampunk artist and designers in the field and features visual art, technologies, and contraptions extraordinaire, all of which richly illustrate the need for a messy vitality which allows the imagination to soar." Art Donovan, Curator Odd Beauty: The Techo-Eccentric World of Steampunk
The gallery is filled with intricate curiosities, beautiful and unique. The works are so interesting, I especially loved the Steampunk Cicada. More photos of the show are HERE
Hellhound by Stephen J. Smith
Steampunk Butterfly by Daniel Proulx
Steampunk Cicada by Daniel Proulx
Sculpture by Todd Sloane

Southampton Arts Center
Through November 12,  2017

Artists include Tom Banwell, David Barnett, Mike Cochran, Ian Crichton, Art Donovan, Dave Duros, Steve Erenberg, Cameron Forrest, Paige Gardner, Eric Freitas, Vianney Halter, Steve La Riccia, Vincent Mattina, Clayton Orehek, Daniel Proulx, Saxon Reynolds, Filip Sawczuk, Todd Sloane, Stephan J. Smith, and Sam van Olffen.
Costume: “Abbey” by Paige Gardner 

The headpiece lights up! 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Surreal Life

Katy Perry, Witness
I bought tickets to a Katy Perry concert as an anniversary present for Hugh months ago. Tickets to the Witness Tour at The Garden. Woot! The day of the concert, I told a business friend that we were going and he started laughing. He wanted to know whose idea it was. Well, um, actually Hugh is the bigger KP fan between the two of us, but I wanted to see her perform too. Why was he laughing? He wouldn't say. My friend has two young daughters; the reason for his mirth. Hugh and I must be the only ones who didn't know that hordes of pre-teen girls adore Katy Perry. The girls are on to something here. The concert was arguably the best that I have ever seen. Katy Perry is not only a gifted composer with an incredible voice, she is also a performance artist extraordinaire. 
Please allow me to digress. I have been reading An Exquisite Corpse by Helen A. Harrison. The premise is a murder mystery which includes famous Surrealist artists as the book's central characters. Harrison is the Director of the Pollock-Krasner House in East Hampton, so she knows her way around art history. The murder is fiction, but characterizations are based on real people. I found myself looking up the artist's works, as I was drawn into the plot. The Exquisite Corpse in the title refers to a Surrealist drawing game called Cadaver Exquis where a folded piece of paper is passed from player to player, each one adding the part of a body with only the leading edge of the previous body part as a guide. The resulting bizarre compilation delighted the artist participants.
Exquisite Corpse (Cadavre exquis) 1928
Man Ray, Max Morise, André Breton, Yves Tanguy

 The concert stage lit up and I gasped.
Are you feeling the Surrealist vibe?
Le Faux Miroir (The False Mirror)
 by Rene Magritte, 1928 via
I think Man Ray would have appreciated the set for I Kissed A Girl..
Observatory Time - The Lovers, Man Ray 1934
Gala Éluard by Max Ernst 1924
oil on canvas, 32 x 25 3/4in
We're all just looking for connection
Yeah, we all want to be seen
I'm looking for someone who speaks my language
Someone to ride this ride with me
Can I get a witness? (Witness)
Will you be my witness" (Witness)
I'm just looking for a witness in all of this
Looking for a witness to get through this (through this, through this, through this)

Will you be my witness?
Could you be the one that speaks for me?
Will you be my witness?

from Witness by Katy Perry/Ali Payami/Max Martin/Savan Harish Kotecha