This holiday week take the older kids to the ZieherSmith Gallery in Chelsea. LA based artist Allison Schulnik presents her paintings, ceramic sculptures and an animated film entitled MOUND. The ceramic work depicts cats, possums and other small fantastical creatures. The cat and possum sit on their hind legs with front paws up much like the all too human Beatrix Potter forest friends. The paintings, are mostly floral displays and brooding hobo's, that are almost three dimensional with their thickly layered oils, popping out at you from black or neutral backgrounds. The centerpiece of the work is the animated short film MOUND that runs continuously in the gallery space. The gallery write up perfectly describes the film as a moving painting. The claymation wonderland that enfolds before your eyes is a sea of imaginary creatures passing each other as if at a rail station all in their lonely worlds. Sometimes they connect and engage in an emotional dance only to move away again. The sound track of the film is the bewitching 1969 ballad of lost love "It's Raining Today," by Scott Walker. It's haunting melody drives the movement of the imagery. The characters and moving landscape is a culmination of labor-intensive work requiring 2 hours to create a single frame of nearly 100 hand-sculpted and sewn puppets. There's something very Tim Burton about the work but without the gore. Perfect for the pre-tweens too.
The exhibit runs until December 17
ZieherSmith 516 West 20th street
Images: Top: Allison Schulnik, "Flower Mound," 2011
Left: Allison Schulnik, "Standing Gin #3," 2011
video: "Mound" 2011, Allison Schulnik