Trapper Keeper at Eastside International
By Genie Davis
Through September 2nd
At Eastside International through September 2nd, Trapper Keeper, curated by Stacy Wendt and Class Projects LA, is a delightful and whimsical mixed media exhibition featuring the work of Tina Linville, Annelie McKenzie, Dakota Noot, and Don Porcella. The group show offers a variety of vibrant and witty works, including both sculptural and wall art. There’s an element of the fantastical, the use of colorful, varied materials, and an emphasis on texture in these works.
More fantastical than realistic, the artists summon creatures and characters, using paint, pipe cleaners, elaborate painted frames, beads, and glitter. This triumphant and slightly zany world is populated by intensely original creations that charm and provoke.
Annelie McKenzie reimagines works by other artists, primarily female and Canadian. She layers thick paint, creating paintings rich and deep enough to visually wade through, revamps unique, baroque frames, and presents artworks that take the original inspiration and turn it on its head. “I’ll transform them with layers of built-up paint. It’s similar to a musical artist covering songs written by other artists, a re-interpretation,” she states.
Don Porcella uses pipe cleaners, a careful three-month or longer process to create human-size sculptures. Here is a man beset by dragonflies, and another in a swirl of bees. Fully realized and vitally life-like — with certain over-sized anatomical features — these works are truly terrific, charming, original, and strange. It would be hard not to be utterly captivated by these sculptures, which have a vivid palette and are exuberantly playful. The artist’s choice of materials almost begs to be touched; the viewer has the sensation of experiencing the voluptuous velvety surface simply from taking the work in. With elements of folk and outsider art merged into a sophisticated style, Porcella says his work is inspired by nature and science fiction. His work also exposes American consumer culture, but his commentary is far from heavy-handed.
Dakota Noot has several large-scale works in the exhibition, including a decidedly pink cowboy and multi-headed horse, and a fuzzy-looking purple alien. Fresh and fun, the two pieces bookend the gallery. Noot says that his work is a code that intertwines his rural North Dakota background with his present as a California-based MFA student. According to Noot, “I draw from symbols of my rural background in North Dakota, twisting and collaging them into new forms…I want to translate the tension between North Dakota and California into my work.”
Tina Linville offers a number of clever smaller sculptures that seem like magical distillations of human and animal; costumed creatures that are both lively and alive. The salvaged materials she uses are transformed from discards into ingenious beings. While her works here are diminutive, Linville also creates large installations. Her fusion of the abstract with representational is thoughtful and absorbing. “What is ordinary becomes mysterious and out of undervalued parts comes an indelible whole,” she explains.
All in all, this is an exhibit that gives viewers the sensation of touching or being touched by works that are densely tactile and visually exciting.