Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DEAD and DREAMING and other good news!

Hope you're all well. It's with all the pomp of a New Orleans funeral that I announce to you the Dead and Dreaming exhibition at Paradigm gallery, opening September 30th. Curating this exhibition was a dream come true; getting to hand-pick all of my favorite local artists to create renderings based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft was at the top of my bucket list. All of the work has been collected in a tome by the same name, and having seen all the work while laying out the companion book, the scope and range of style and tone of this collection of work is truly horror inspiring and has all the flourish and weird light of Lovecraft's own bizarre script.

When sending out the invites for this show, I had my fingers crossed that nobody would pick The Call of Cthulhu, not because I wanted to illustrate the story, but because part of me wanted people to focus on the less iconic, less well known in Lovecraft's writing. I wanted to see all the madness I had read about but had yet to see be illustrated. I made the mistake of not reserving a story for myself, not that I would have been able to decide on just one, and when all the RSVP's came back, I was left with Rats in the Walls, From Beyond, The Lurking Fear, and... The Call of Cthulhu. I started multiple sketches, and even finishes for each story, but when it came to brass tax, I was going to be the asshole to render Cthulhu. Lovecraft's descriptions of the monster are pretty thorough, and over the years folk like Frazetta have giving the beast an image, a look that has rarely been strayed from. I've always been a fan of accuracy from source-material, but this time around, to not be a rehasher of icons, I had to put from my head the writing, and all the art I had seen. In a perfect world, I would have started my finish ten years ago, to give it the detail deserved, and draw each fold of skin and wave in my own blood, but this was not the case. I'm not happy with the final, but deadlines are made to be followed...after breaking them five or six times. Hope you like it. I really do.

When asked to curate this show, I knew it would be one of those "holy shit, I gotta mortgage my house because I want to buy every piece off the wall" sort of shows, so this would be the perfect exhibition to collect in a book. These will be available at the gallery, and online. For the cover, I wanted to showcase each artist, so I tried to pick details that would force people to pick up the book in anticipation of what lays lurking around each detail.

For Immediate Release:

When considering an artist’s body of work, one often looks for the late greats, the other artists whom have had an impact on said body of work. But one rarely ponders the prose or writing that may have had an impact on said artist.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937), American author of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, has had an immense impact on the artistically inclined since he put pen to paper. It is obvious why artists who dabble in dark and macabre imagery have been touched by Lovecraft’s brand of New England terror for decades. Often thought of as verbose, Lovecraft’s long, in depth descriptions of architecture, landscapes, horrible flora and debased fauna verbally paint a picture almost as vivid as an artists rendering. These detailed descriptions in Lovecraft’s work truly make the reader see each tentacle, tooth, wing, and membranous head that stalks his writing.

And like the dreams dictating the artist’s hand creating a bas-relief of clay in the Call of Cthulhu, or the humanesque daemon photo-reference in Pickman’s model, one almost feels possessed, a strong urge to dip a pen in ink and illustrate the evil that is so thoroughly described in each story. And that is what artists have been doing since the publishing of Lovecraft’s work. In re-printed volumes, personal sketch books, mythos inspired film, games, and writing, Lovecraft’s work takes on almost a second life, a horrible re-birth by the hands of hundreds of artists worldwide, carrying on Lovecraft’s legacy, weather for print or pure pleasure, they keep the green, noxious flame burning in some burrow, tomb, or cyclopean vista just beyond the wall of sleep. This coming autumn, 20 artists depicting the stories and characters of H.P. Lovecraft will stoke that flame at Paradigm Gallery in the exhibit ‘Dead and Dreaming’. The artwork from this show will be collected in a volume also titled ‘Dead and Dreaming’, available at the gallery and online.

H.P.Lovecraft-Jay Bevenour
Wilbur Whateley-Michael Bukowski
The Horror at Red Hook-Eamon Dougherty
The Tomb-Tim Durning
The Thing on the Doorstep-Alex Eckman-Lawn
Pickman’s Model-Jen Gin
He-Justin Gray
Celephais-Kirsten Harper
Shadow Over Innsmouth-Rachel Harper Joseph
The Call of Cthulhu-Sam Heimer
The Temple-Jeffro Kilpatrick
Dagon-Christine Larsen
Shadow Over Innsmouth-German Orozco
Herbert West - Reanimator-Paul Palcko
At the Mountains of Madness-Christian Patchell
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family-Anthony Pedro
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward-Rog Petersen
The Moon Bog-Joseph Querio
The White Ship-Paul Romano
The Picture in the House-Mike Wohlberg

Dead and Dreaming
Paradigm Gallery
2020 South Street, Philadelphia PA
Opening Reception: September 30th 6-10 PM

And last, but surely not least, over the summer a few friends and I had a few think-tank sessions and applied to the Arts on South Program; and after waiting with fingers crossed, we've been granted a space. Arts on South is a program run by Magic Gardens and Triad Real-estate, that grants RENT-FREE gallery spaces to artists and collectives. We put together a rock-solid pitch of 4 exhibitions, demonstrations, and extra programing, and come this December to April, we will have a gallery at 6th and South, in a big store-front, aptly titled Almost Anonymous. We're going to need a lot of art to fill those walls, so keep an ear to the ground folks.