Monday, August 17, 2009

Creepier than Krusty the Clown: Alison Schulnik at Alexander and Bonin

One of Alison's deep, dark melancholy clowns.
Watch her riveting Hobo movie.
I love the Alexander and Bonin Gallery. I pop in several times a week when I'm in the neighborhood, and loiter longer than is decent before works that enthrall, intrigue, transfix.

Like this creepy clown, by LA artist Alison Schulnik. The eyes are like two tragic abysses, hollowed out from the thick, thick paint, perhaps with a finger. The strokes look like a supersize tube of each color - mainly black - was the actual brush. She must have gone through a truckload of tubes.

Creepy the Clown's brethren come alive in a super trippy, melancholy claymation clip called Hobo the Clown on Alison's website. Those eyes spin and merge and spread and splatter as only claymation can. Check out her other videos.

With the classic circus clown, the sad mouth is always over-exaggerated, the eyes reduced to "+" signs receding into a backdrop of pancake white. Yet here, it's like Alison is bringing those tiny eyes out of their sockets into the limelight, like dark, disturbed windows into the clown's sad, psychotic soul. Spooky wooky!



This show was called Whaddya Wanna Be - A Flower? featuring the work of John Baldessari, Robert Bordo, Joe Bradley, Peter Coffin, Willie Cole, Mark Grotjahn / Jonas Wood, Jeff
Koons, Andrew Kuo, Seth Price, Rob Pruitt, Allison Schulnik and Paul Thek.

The other paintings I liked were these two florals, by an artist I can't for the life of me remember (is it Robert Bordo?). Someone help me out. They're naive, almost child-like, yet have a painterly, impressionistic quality. I like the abstract "natural" light, an oxymoron if you even saw one. Monet unplugged. Plus the colors go really well together. I even like the shadow the bottom of the painting casts on the wall.




Flowers were the main theme, and were seen wilting in a kitsch (what else?) white Jeff Koons puppy planter ($3000 a piece); there was also a pot plant being serenaded by a megaphone uttering names of colors. It clearly didn't work, because the plant was wilting. Or maybe that was the point. A complementary video of a plant being read the alphabet didn't seem to fare any better; fertilizer isn't going out of style any time soon ...

Koons at a (comparatively) affordable pricepoint.
I seized an opportunity to create my own artwork in the gallery while the maintenance folks came in to freshen up the flowers in the Koons planters. I call this one, "Sweeping with the Enemy."



Alexander and Bonin Gallery represents several artists I admire: Mona Hatoum, Rita McBride, Jorge Macchi. Check them out when you're in the nabe!

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