Thursday, May 10, 2012

Curtis Gannon

Closure Grid, 2009 - Collage

My art review repost from ModernHouston.net back in February 2012.

I have to admit that I was and still am a nerd, so seeing Curtis Gannon's show "an everything in between," brought back the days when I collected comics. Spacetakers ACR has Gannon's comic book collaged installation pieces along with some framed collage work. I wouldn't call these works irreverent cutting of actual comic books, but a commemoration of the sequential form.

First and foremost, Curtis Gannon’s installations are a celebration of the comic book panel. For those not in the know, a panel is the box that contains one frame of the story. A panel might have text, characters talking, and drawings of people, places, or even monsters. A succession of panels tell a story and savvy comic book writers and readers refer to this form as Sequential Art. Just like art has its critics and theorists, comic books have Scott McCloud. He predicted comics would be reimaged in all kind of aesthetic directions. I think Gannon’s display of the cut out images layered over one another falls under a type of abstract story line described by McCloud in “Understanding Comics.” I think McCloud would be intrigued by Gannon’s installations.

These collages come from golden age or silver age reprints. I read an interview where he suggests his preference for the very clear lines of good and bad characters. But, I also think he is using these old images like Rembrandt copying the posses of a Raphael painting. There is a reverence; Gannon is paying homage to the masters of their craft. Some might be turned off by the “conservative grid,” but this too is a reference to the 6 or 8 panel style of older comic books.

I thought the framed collages were a little more traditional collage style. The images are cut and reorganized like a painting that wants to capture your attention. Both these collages and the installation pieces gives us just a little too much information and thus makes the work a slight less mysterious. Personally I think he could cut a little closer to the edge of the panels in the installation piece to make the stories a little more abstract. But this is only a minor quibble, for as a whole, I enjoy the work.

The show will be up at Spacetakers ACR until March 3rd with a closing reception. On February 5th, Curtis Gannon will be speaking at the Menil Collection about Jasper Johns.

See more images of the show at ModernHouston.net.

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