FUNNY (not funny) Recent Comic Art Exhibiting Signs of Black Humor Curated by Ryan Standfest
January 22 - February 26, 2010 Reception: Friday, January 22 6-9pm
The University of Michigan Work : Detroit Gallery 3663 Woodward / Suite 150 Detroit, MI 48230
Participating Artists: Ivan Brunetti Chris Cilla Sue Coe Lisa Hanawalt Glenn Head Tim Hensley Ian Huebert Ben Katchor Michael Kupperman Mats!? Daniel Maw Taylor McKimens Travis Millard Tom Neely Mark Newgarden David Paleo Jonathon Rosen David Sandlin Rob Sato Jon Vermilyea
The "FUNNY (not funny)" exhibition seeks to elicit uncomfortable laughter in the realm of black humor-a place where the serious and the taboo are fodder for comic provocation. Artists in numerous media have long sought to overturn convention and challenge what is funny with what is not as a means of producing humor out of the unlikeliest of situations. Work by the twenty artists on view in "FUNNY (not funny)" demonstrates that cartooning is keeping the tradition of black humor alive and flourishing. The very form of the comics page itself is as relevant a vehicle as ever, freed from so many of the commercial restrictions placed on other art forms, to effectively deliver potent images and narratives that carry with them a very immediate and accurate measure of the absurdity of our age.
Thursday, October 22, 7–9PM powerHouse Arena · 37 Main Street (corner of Water & Main St) · DUMBO, Brooklyn
Come celebrate the release of this essential volume of the year’s best American comics at The powerHouse Arena. Series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden will join the authors for a discussion, readings, slide shows, signings and more.
David Sandlin's road to damnation is studded with pit stops -in the Biblical sense- from adultery and avarice to venality and zealotry, and he's happy to lead you on your way in this lyric paean to southern gothic guilt, shown here for the first time in New York.
In one long, continuous room-circumnavigating drawing, Sandlin takes you on a journey of alphabetic depravity, relating a tale of jealousy, murder, and-well, you just have to come and see-all in lilting iambic pentameter:
"Our acme of ardor, was it only a fable, Was it the adultery and avarice that made it unstable Like a television soap opera coming over the cable?"
The Alphabetical Ballad of Carnality, the latest installment of Sandlin's sprawling epic series "A Sinner's Progress," is perhaps his wittiest. This flowing cycloramic drawing, over 60 feet long, depicts thirty-two images in sin-drenched color illustrating one man's sordid spiral into depravity. Every letter of the alphabet gets titillating, tongue-twisting treatment in rhyme as each luridly illustrated image seamlessly segues to the next. Sandlin's love of inventive language, especially puns, finds full expression here, tracing a lineage to traditions for which he claims a congenital affinity: Irish literature and American country music.
Looming above Sandlin's adults-only abecedary and backlit in lurid barroom lights is a frieze of wooden cutouts, Hangover Hollow. A bestiary of tortured creatures caper and prance across the walls, gleefully playing off the human drama unfolding in the drawing below.
The drawing exhibited here is the original artwork for Sandlin's 2006 book, published by Fantagraphics Books, in Seattle, Washington. Steven Heller, in his review in the New York Times, called the book a "comically grotesque series of disturbingly funny tableaus about the upside of eternal damnation, filthy lucre, and masochistic mendacity."
David Sandlin's paintings, prints, books, and installations have been exhibited extensively in New York and elsewhere across the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia. His comics and paintings have appeared in Blab!, The Ganzfeld, Hotwire, Raw, and many other graphic venues. He is a recipient of grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Penny McCall Foundation, among others. An instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Sandlin was also the 2007-2008 Lamar Dodd Professorial Chair at the University of Georgia.
David Sandlin has been down in Athens, Georgia, this school year as the Lamar Dodd Chair/Visiting Artist of UGA's art department. Here's a few jpgs of his current show at the Lamar Dodd Gallery. There's also an exhibit of his artist's books at the Georgia Museum of Art...
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