Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Art in the Afternoon
As I wandered the streets of Rockland, Maine, my mind yawned at all the moose-themed pajamas in storefront windows and redundant coffee spots. Perhaps it was the rain, the dulling grey sky, but killing time really felt exactly like that: killing time, only I was murdering it with coastal Maine monotony.
That was, until I found myself wedged in a precarious hallway called the "in between gallery" with some of the coolest art/narrative collaboration from Maine boy Andrew Mc Kenzie and Oregonian Jason Squamata(whose name, by the way, was incredibly hard to spell on a Blackberry with auto-text).
Just wanting to find an alternative exit to the jammed front door of Rock City Coffee Roasters where I got myself a pick-me-up coffee, I stumbled into said hallway and was blown away. The art movement is called HYPNO. What exactly it is, I'm not sure, but I like it.
Here's an explanation you can have a stab at from HYPNO artist Sir Richard Wentworth's blog and HYPNO-Wiki(http://rwentworth.blogspot.com/):
HYPNO is the current default designation for a style, aesthetic and worldview that has its roots in Entropian and Hypgnostic salons, hatched in front rooms, secret gardens and humid discotheques across Boston, Brighton, Allston and Everett Massachusetts in the late 90s. The vision of the original movement informed the group's musical, artistic and narrative output, and generated recording projects, comic books, graphic design, short stories and even dance nights.
The original group's activities culminated in the summer of 2002 with a live presentation of Orji Walflauer's radical response to H.P. Lovecraft's From Beyond. This mass hyposis "happening" was staged and performed by members of the World Hypgnostik Order and featured spontaneous sound design by the ritual improvisation group Clue Display. The intensity of the evening's entertainment splintered the movement and placed an emphatic ellipsis on the future of HYPNO.
Lined with poster-sized artwork the "in between" hallway was a confusion of black and white swirls, dizzying and captivating. Each image seemed to tell a story.
Andrew's Art is like a myriad of smashed spider-veined windows and rippling water obscuring the succession of layered pictures overlapping in one's inner mind. It's rapid-fire thoughts interrupted with paused questions and an over-stimulated 1990's era MTV-head, of Pop Culture imagery and contorted everyday subjects.
Jason Squamata is Head Writer and Creative Director of HYNOKOMIX, the art movement these works belong to, and the author of the narratives that accompanied each artwork. Dark and sinister, like a good Chuck Palahniuk novel, it pulls you in with its tense and intelligent writing, its interesting story line and character traits that are a reflection of everything about oneself you don't want anyone to know.
Standing in that pale yellow hallway, totally immersed in the story and artwork of these two was the best hour of my day. For a little while, on a drizzly afternoon, I went somewhere else -- and that's exactly what art is supposed to do.
To find out more check out the artist's webpage: