Happily Until Their Deaths
Ryan Travis Christian, David Jien, Adrienne Kammerer, Toshio Saeki
Runs October 20 – Nov 28, 2015
Recently I rewatched footage from the 1937 Walt Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Though it had been years since I had seen the film, specific imagery and animation sequences remained conspicuously intact to memory. The overwhelming immersive experience of beauty, fantasy, horror and betrayal had unintentionally wormed itself deep within my heart and mind, affecting my emotions just as it had upon my first viewing. I found a recognizable terror rising up at the transformation of the witch, climaxing at Snow White’s bite into the seductively poisoned apple. The Disney film, while benign in comparison to the original Brothers Grimm tale, sustains its effectiveness in permeating our consciousness through use of innately familiar parables that illustrate elementary human emotion through metaphor.
The adeptly conceived visuals we are exposed to when our young minds are naive and absorbent creep along our synapses, fusing and firing, connecting an individual to their own subconscious. Japanese artist Toshio Saeki often speaks about the horror movies he would see as a child, inspiring nightmarish hallucinations in his waking life, satiated only by realizing these bizarre situations through drawing. David Jien uses intricate drawings and surreal narratives to express personal fears and desires, each character representing a form of himself through an invented allegorical future history. Ryan Travis Christian’s work is influenced by memory and evokes a feverish experience as though we’ve tapped directly into a traversable wormhole within his brain. His drawings often reference signature cartoon imagery such as googly eyes and gloved hands, their features animating off the page in loops of familiarity; entertaining our eyes while rattling our senses. Adrienne Kammerer spent the last year traveling, researching mythology and fables and now resides in Germany. Through her drawings she combines contemporary image culture spread through technological social systems with historic fables. The results reveal a hybrid narrative laced with monsters and witches existing in an abstracted time and place.
“Happily Until Their Deaths” was once a popular concluding pronouncement to fairy tales in the 1600s. This eventually softened into the more familiar “happily ever after”. The original text offers a starker reality, a darker realization that perhaps there are no happy endings but merely happy stopping places and that the release we experience within these moments of hallucinatory escapism are one of life’s provoking pleasures. If this is all in our heads, we invite you take comfort in the shared experience of storytelling offered through the channeling of subconscious narratives depicted through the drawings of Ryan Travis Christian, David Jien, Adrienne Kammerer, and Toshio Saeki.
Text by Kristin Weckworth, Curator
Happily Until Their Deaths runs from Oct 20-Nov 28.
There will be a free public opening reception Tuesday October 20 from 5-8pm.
» Exhibition Info
For inquiries, please contact the gallery: