Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is pleased to present recent works by narrative artist Dave Cooper, with special guest Johnny Ryan on Saturday, October 9 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Both artists are celebrating the publication of new books with an art exhibition, reception and book signing.
Canadian artist Dave Cooper offers us a window into the wobbly dollhouse that is his mind's eye. The artist is touring the West Coast behind BENT, his latest monograph from Fantagraphics Books, which will debut at the event. The book gathers diverse imagery that is at once disturbing and alluring. Cooper has developed a passionate following with recent solo shows at Billy Shire Fine Arts in Los Angeles and Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York in June. The exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore will feature 10 original drawings. Cooper will sign copies of BENT as well as previous Fantagraphics publications, including his famously misanthropic comic serial WEASEL and his recent story in the anthology MOME VOLUME 18.
The evening of October 9 also marks the triumphant return of subversive cartoonist Johnny Ryan to sign copies of the second volume of his amazing PRISON PIT series. This cacophonous tale of intergalactic bedlam continues the prolific artist's examination of social pandemonium originated in his popular ANGRY YOUTH COMIX (collected in 3 volumes from Fantagraphics Books.) Ryan will display a new series of colorful silkscreen prints and sign books during the reception.
Please join us to welcome these extraordinary artists to Seattle. This event coincides with the lively Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) just minutes from downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
DAVE COOPER: BENT JOHNNY RYAN: PRISON PIT
Saturday, October 9, 6:00 to 9:00 PM Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale Street, Seattle, WA 206.658.0110 Open Daily 11:30 - 8:00 PM, Sunday until 5:00 PM
Fine artist Dave Cooper offers us a window into the wobbly dollhouse that is his mind’s eye. The work in Bent gathers a diverse mix of imagery that is also strangely focussed in its single-mindedness. This work has found a devoted and passionate following with visitors to Cooper’s solo gallery shows in Los Angeles and New York in recent years.
Cooper continues to obsess and fixate over his bizarre procession of milky figures as they crawl and wriggle into hidden meadows, jungles and cities. Everything in this world seems to be undulating and overripe — the multi-coloured Jell-O vegetation, the billowing clouds, and the twitching, agitated women, whether thin like sinewy rubber, or fat and bursting with doughy flesh.
The characters in Cooper’s work have been likened to a dog chasing its tail. Or maybe it’s as though they’re like someone on drugs who can stare at their own hand for 20 minutes; either way, these girls are hypnotized by wriggling around on the ground, twisting in on themselves, walking on their hands, squeezing and chewing one another. It may sound hellish, but to the demons, hell must seem like heaven. So maybe Cooper’s landscapes are more like a weird kind of utopia where all those insane facial expressions and physical contortions are more an experession of elation or giddiness.
This monograph collects Cooper’s finest, most revealing paintings, ink drawings, pencil sketches, and photographs from the past five years, many of which enjoy homes in the collections of influential collectors and some of Hollywood’s elite. Among this esteemed crowd is the great auteur, Oscar-nominated Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, the upcoming Hobbit movies [maybe]), who provides an enthusiastic introduction for Bent.
Look, I can't lie: the first time I visited Los Angeles, I psyched myself out with mental images of women with crazy plastic surgery, carrying little chihuahua dogs in purses that cost more than my car. But, normal people who did not O.D. on re-reruns of "Beverly Hills, 90210" know that L.A. actually has an amazing culture of wonderful un-Botox®'d artists.
And acclaimed indie director Lance Bangs captured that scene in his 2009 documentary Family Portrait, a film centered around the great Family Bookstore, and the people behind the counter, like Sammy Harkham and David Kramer.
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