If you’ve spent most of this past week sobbing hysterically and digging deep to find a reason not to slit your wrists, having lost all faith in 50% of humanity, then you might be ready to surrender your abused senses to a video that takes zero effort to appreciate, because it is rendered via the highly accessible medium of Claymation — just like Gumby! Yay! In the wildly engaging (and acid hangover-friendly) video for “Lost My Way” from NYC Garage Rock quintet, Cheena, we follow the psychedelic urban adventures of a tiny yellow pooch who looks quite like Mr. Bill’s dog Spot. Guest stars include a gang of mischievous serpents, a helpful cactus, and a ghost. Oh Boy!
Aurally, “Lost My Way” is mildly spooky, classic 60s-era fuzz-tone punk. What’s not to like? “Lost My Way” can be found lurking on Cheena’s debut album, Spend The Night With, which was released in August on Sacred Bones Records. Enjoy!
On last week’s ambitious Art Crawl, Geoffrey and I hit up David Nolan Gallery as our first stop of the evening and were extremely charmed by Recent Terrestrials, an exhibition of new work by Alexander Ross. Bringing together a series of large-scale paintings and a group of smaller drawings, the exhibition signifies a variety of recent formal and thematic innovations for the artist.
The Surface of the Above, Untitled, Painting is Completely Flat, Despite its Multidimensional Appearance
Ross is best known for his biomorphic imagery, wherein modeled forms suggest molecular ecosystems as viewed through a microscope, or surreal landscapes inspired by Max Ernst. In recent years, the artist has developed a distinctive color palette that includes occasional flashes of red and yellow emerging within multiple shades of green. Ross’s characteristic handling of paint – through which shapes are given dimensionality in incremental bands of shading – might suggest a photorealistic endeavor. However, viewed as a whole, his compositions can be understood more accurately as abstractions, where the interplay of color and form, highlight and shadow become the focus.
With Recent Terrestrials, Ross redirects his emphasis toward imagery recalling “grotesques,” a style of architectural ornament found throughout Europe that incorporates ugly or playfully contorted faces. I believe they are also called Gargoyles, but Ross’s painted figures remind me of the ‘claymation’ technique used in animated films best exemplified the Gumby franchise. These sneering faces also have a political dimension, conveying the artist’s restlessness in response to what he perceives to be disquieting geological and social changes in civil life.
Another group of paintings finds the artist un-mounted from his established vantage point, in which a clear blue sky serves as a neutral backdrop. Radically shifting this familiar perspective, a number of Ross’s new works comprise intricately worked lattices or cellular matrices, appearing both luminous and translucent. In an alternative reading, these can also be seen as cross-sections of the earth where unusual concave forms suggest subterranean excavations.
Recent Terrestrials by Alexander Ross will be on Exhibit Through December 6th, 2014 at David Nolan Gallery, Located a 527 West 29th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District. House are Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.