Always good for a day-trip into the city, MassArt brings us astatic, an intriguing exhibition featuring animated works that use innovative, and sometimes curious, approaches to storytelling.
While many people may question the collaboration, or even united presence of animation and fine art, if you dig a little deeper you find the worlds are not so far apart. In fact, Contemporary art is not the only time period that has embraced this new form of expression.
One may consider the works of the Russian Avant Garde, like Malevich, El Lissitzky and Rodchenko as bringing fine art to more ‘graphic’ places than it had been before. Bringing design, animationand fine art together for propaganda purposes, and rocked the western world (and the soviet requirement for ‘fine art’) with it’s audacity. Fine art was about painting landscapes! Figure drawings! Just like the Abstract Expressionism that shaked the US art scene foundations in the 40′s and 50′s, the Suprematism and Modernist movement in Russia was a game changer, opening doors for more experimental arts. Animation is just an extension of these graphic, non-realism depiction set to sound and with moving parts. While it’s a long way from this to Pixar, their are still many fine artists utilizing animation and film for their expressive tendencies.
Artists like Kara Walker, whose silhouettes can be found in our own Boston MFA, uses traditional stenciling and characiture to portray the injustices and inequalities unto African Americans in the 1800′s southern states of the US. Her work has a classical ‘cartoon-y’ way about it, with exaggerated ‘African’ features such as big lips, round behinds, etc to reference the common, and bigoted, perceptions of the time. The ‘catoon-y’-ness also allows Walker to play with subject, space, proportion and story telling in a way that a traditional medium would not allow.
A personal favorite of mine, William Kentridge, also utilizes animation to tell his stories, which range from apartheid South Africa (his home) to farse to pure Dada. His work is often hilarious, often heartbreaking, but always manages to touch you, and much of it is to do with his painstakingly clever and beautiful animated style of story telling. Proving again that illustration, animation and storytelling are just natural extensions of fine art, and is recognized in such major institutions as our MFA and the MoMA, where I saw a retrospective of Kentridge’s work and simply fell in love.
So go on and check out what the latest group of young artists are mustering up on the animation front over at MassArt! And after that, rent some Pixar flicks to round out the night. Sounds like a delightful day to me!
MassArt Bakalar Gallery
621 Huntington Ave
on going til March 5th