Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sideshow Soo...Celebrating 10 years.

On June 4th Soo Visual Arts Center will be celebrating our 10th birthday with a carnival inspired party, which will run until June 19th. Why Sideshow Soo you may ask? And I decided to cull through our archives of exhibitions to give you an answer.

In our 10 years of operation SooVAC has exemplified the most positive aspect of the sideshow, a place where the unique and unusual can find a voice. Here is a collection of art that we have exhibited over the years that appears to encapsulate those qualities and a sense of the carnival. I couldn't include everything that fit the bill so this is just a small sampling that starts at the beginning in 2001 and concludes with an image of one of the artist created booths that will be on display at Sideshow Soo. The included image is created by Amelia Biewald, other participating artists in Sideshow Soo are: Aaron Dysart, Jaime Carrera, Will Grant, Mary Johnson, Levi Murphy, Mark O’Brien, Chris Pennington, Liseli Polivka, Amy Toscani and Eric Veldey.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pop Culture Perversions in Robert McCann's Paintings

We decided to research a couple of the most enigmatic characters in Robert McCann's paintings. The first appears to be a mash up of part comic book character and bathing beauty. The other is an alien bent on world domination and last but not least is a character from Mad Max, aren't apocalyptic visions grand.

First up is the Galactus mashup...created by the always awesome Stan Lee in collaboration with Jack Kirby...pure silver age goodness. Not only does Galactus appear in over four decades of Marvel, making its first appearance in in Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966), but the character is ranked #5 in's list of "Top 100 Comic Book Villains".

Galactus is a devourer of worlds that needs their energy to survive, his visage transposed on the bikini clad female figure could imply any number of fascinating metaphors...

Next up is my personal favorite, R0-Man from the 1953 SciFi movie "Robot Monster" and I admire the obscurity of this reference. This one is a bit verbose but I just couldn't leave out the bit about the dinosaurs.

The evil alien Ro-Man Extension XJ-9 (who is simply called "Ro-Man" by the humans) has destroyed all but eight humans on Earth with his death ray. The survivors consist of a family of five, a scientist, and two unseen assistants to the scientist in a spacecraft bound for an orbiting space platform carrying an also-unseen garrison of human soldiers. All eight have developed an immunity to the death ray as a side effect of an antibiotic serum developed by the scientist.

Ro-Man must destroy the earthbound survivors, albeit by physical means, before his subjugation of Earth is complete. After fruitless negotiations he destroys the rocket ship headed for the garrison in orbit, and later strangles the youngest daughter off-screen and tosses the younger scientist off a cliff. He is waylaid in his mission, however, after developing an illogical attraction towards Alice, the eldest daughter of the family. He refuses to eliminate her, forcing "The Great Guidance", leader of the aliens, to personally finish the task of genocide by killing Ro-Man (who has just killed the young boy) and unleashing prehistoric dinosaurs upon the Earth, by which time only the elder scientist and his wife of twenty years are the only humans on the planet.

This last featured character is from Mad Max: The Road Warrior
which seems appropriate to finish this odd ode to villainous figures:

The Humungus, the violent, yet charismatic and articulate leader of the wasteland dwellers. The Humungus' face is never seen, as he wears a hockey goalie's mask, possibly to hide radiation exposure; as far as clothing, he has a bare torso adorned only with leather biker paraphernalia. In a brief cutaway, as The Humungus pulls his revolver from a case and loads a single bullet to shoot out the radiator of the Mack truck, we see a black and white photograph of a family with a military officer in the father's position, though it is unclear whether this would be The Humungus's former family.

Thanks wiki for doing the research for me and perhaps accurately. None of this has been confirmed or denied by the artist so take these conclusions with the fun they are intended.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Some us have a touch of animal in us...and other curious things

So as some of you are working furiously on your Untitled application I decided to take a slightly less art centric approach to this week's blog entry. Though I did take inspiration from Jessica Teckemeyer's exhibition title, We Are Animal.

First off this season of NOVA Science Now has been re
ally great and this is one of the best episodes, How Smart Are Animals. It is especially brilliant for those of you out there that find octopuses amazing...the extent of their intelligence is really stunning. I am sure most of you have heard about the exploits of Paul the Octopus and his powers of prediction, this episode is even better than that.
During my daily consumption of M
PR Science Friday I heard a fascinating segment on a new book:
Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution

One interesting little tidbit from this discussion was the popularity of transfusing animal blood for humans, this happened mostly in the early 1600s by the way, some were even successful including the first transfusion performed on a young boy with sheep's blood curing him of terrible fevers.
So this last one isn't really about animals and humans as much as it is about insects and robots, close enough right? Apparently caterpillars are a new source of inspiration for cutting edge robotics. Apparently the interest stems from caterpillars ability to make a speedy exit by rolling up into a circle. You can read more about it HERE and HERE.