A selection of 6 Prints from our Paper Doll series are on exhibit this Fall semester at the Hamon Arts Library at Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. On display are three each my husbands my images curated by Shannon Maylath.
Paper Dolls by Colleen Shull and Justin Shull
September 9 – December 13, 2015
This exhibit displays photographs of collages created through the alteration and excavation of contemporary fashion magazines. Located in the newly renovated Hamon Arts Library lobby, this new body of work explores the intersections of new media, fashion advertising, photography, and the body. The exhibition will feature new work by SMU former adjunct lecturer Justin Shull, and SMU MFA graduate Colleen Shull.
This looks like it will be a great show! In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States
The exhibition includes works in a variety of media dating from 1931 to 1968, and some later examples that demonstrate Surrealism’s influence on the feminist movement. Iconic figures such as Louise Bourgeois, Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Lee Miller, Kay Sage, Dorothea Tanning, and Remedios Varo are represented, along with lesser known or newly discovered practitioners.
At Guerra Paint and Pigment I was delighted that when I walked in the door I was greeted by Art Guerra the owner and founder. I realized I had inevitably walked by the East Village shop many times before on previous trips into the city. Guerra showed me the large color chart wall and explained what each color was and how the chart worked. He also gave a demo on how to mix the super concentrated liquid pigment with different acrylic binders depending on what type of paint consistency you want to achieve. There were handmade books to look through with different paint recipes or items that could be added to the paint, (pumice, shredded tire, glass beads, etc) We talked about how his pigments differed from the Golden paints I have been using and how he started his paint business 25 years ago. It turns out many of the Golden materials I have been using are modelled after Guerra’s, however what is interesting is unlike Golden it is not pre-packaged giving the artist more control over their medium and also a lower price point. I purchased a sample pack and also some interesting new colors and binders to experiment with in my studio.
Read more about or oder the paint on their website : http://www.guerrapaint.com/
The enigmatic video installation, Cities of Gold and Mirrors as seen in Austin’s contemporary non-profit space, Arthouse was created by the young French artist Cyprien Gaillard (born in Paris 1980) a 16 mm film transferred to video of 8 min. 52 sec. Gaillard’s work has recently been on display worldwide including the Wexner Center for the Arts, Kunstalle Basel, Malta Contemporary and he is the recent winner of the Marcel Ducamp prize 2010. In his first exhibition in Texas, the film, Cities of Gold and Mirrors, fittingly chronicles the iconic American spring break in Cancun with the juxtaposition of the Mayan ruins and modernist hotels, resulting in an otherworldly culture clash that emits a mystical power through its dreamy drug induced visuals and audios. The spiritual landscape of historic Cancun is overshadowed by the dominating contemporary additions and tourism that mingle side by side creating a shift that exemplifies our current cultures often diametric state. The music tract has a retro psychedelic vibe that makes it feel like a 1980’s B grade sci-fi film at first, it’s incessant looping jolts one into an almost nauseated state that overwhelms the images and induces a feeling of being under the influence much like the kids isolated in the enclosure of resort who do not experience anything outside of getting drunk in the isolated and landscaped courtyard.
The fact that this work is by a young artist but not made digitally serves as an example of where the analog technology serves the work better. Not only does the smooth retro feel of the film give it a heightened quality of memory, the mood emanates a strong quality of being otherworldly and not just of a digital realm; it contributes to its overall mystery and intoxication. The rich color saturation and optics reflects the title of gold and mirror as surfaces. The title references the history of the archaeological ruins and Mayan culture with its emphasis on “gold”. The tourism that has evolved since the 1970’s with the inclusion of new mirrored structures and resorts making up the other half as, “mirror”.
The piece is in five chapters going from sequences of the drunken spring breakers, night club lights, Mayan ruins, the hotel pool with dolphins, and the demolishment of a mirrored building. Each in a slight slow motion that together with the audio relay the slowed drug induced state that emendates the work as a whole. The audio (and title) is taken from the 1980’s television show, Mysterious Cities of Gold, about Spanish conquistadors’ that the artist watched as a child. This audio is altered in a way that gives a feeling of being transmitted through something other than air; the audio more than anything sets the mood for the work. When we come to the scene with the dolphins in the lagoon the music begins to connect to similar sounds of whale communications under water with its muted and transient sonar like deep blips and beeps.
The five subsequent scenes flow into each other despite their non linear distinction. Starting with the spring break binge the lens takes a point of view as an insider as we get intimate wavering views much like an i-phone camera documenting the bikini clad girls and sunburned boys competitively downing their individual bottles of liquor. The next scene goes to a figure all in red with tai-chi like moves at the base of the nearby Mayan ruins where we glimpse the 1970’s resort structure in the distance. This figure is representative of a gang member of the regional ‘bloods’ and wears a bandana over his head and face, while covering his identity it at the same time masks him in an almost ritualistic manner. His gang sign language and dance is slowed giving it a mystic air and also masking its intentions or purpose. Formally the scene of a mirrored high rise right before and amidst it’s demolish is startling. Visually optical waves of reflection blur horizontal passages of the gridded panels of glass that quiver under sound waves before the ultimate and sudden collapse of the entire structure. This instant explosion of the manmade structure to make room for something new is a sharp contrast to the weathered ancient stepped pyramids nearby that instead stand the test of time, despite man’s desire to constantly develop, update, improve, and make new structures.
Next cut is to the dolphins surrealistically swimming up to the edge of the resort structure that now feels more like cruise liner until we realize that these are not dolphins at sea but enclosed in the tourism artifice. Aimlessly they swim in circles against the parallel sun bathing balconies but are the only living thing we see. Completing with upward views of the night club, flared colored lights of red, green, blue shoot around and in between we see the skeletal metal ceiling frames. The first hand view mimics the reality of gazing at the ceiling during a show and revealing only this periphery view of the experience.
The film takes the viewer on an enlightening journey of this region, but unlike a documentary does not go at lengths to explain its purpose. Like trying to decipher a dream one is left with questionable experiences that are part travel memoir part critical critique of this unique space caught between past and future. The cultural gap and connection to the conquistadors calls to mind the confusion that grows in places of historic identity when mingled with a new reality. Since the world Guillard portrays is not real, but is made up of real footage he shot from this location, we question its portrayal. At the same time perhaps his version illuminates this time as a mixture of experience of Canun from one of the intoxicated college student, the unseen world of the gang member, the developer, and the trapped dolphin.
However unlike a Hitchcock these parts do not synthesize and the mystery is not revealed with a twist in end. Despite finding out what is going on there is only so far that takes the viewer. In the end the mood of, Cities of Gold and Mirrors is one that is contemplative but unsolvable. Like an irritating dream that you can’t quite remember it gets under your skin as you watch it and makes an uncomfortable space with its eerie dominating audio and mesmerizing affects.