Friday, November 15, 2013

Bob Dylan's Mood Swings and Chris Monroe at the Red Mug


Well, if you're in town this weekend, and by that I mean London-town, you'll want to check out the latest Dylan art opening at the Halcyon Gallery there. The exhibition is titled Mood Swings, and the first image I saw from the show was of a woman standing alongside an iron gate slightly opening. So in addition to painting, the singer/songwriter is now welding. Or at least by means of assistants is assembling three-dimensional works on an impressive scale.

Mood Swings is comprised of three different sections. The first part is the welded sculptures which hearken back to Dylan's Hibbing roots on the Iron Range. The aforementioned gates can be considered decorative or symbolic. Do we read too much into it to think first of the Gates of Eden?

A review by London Telegraph critic Mark Hudson wonders why the iron elements have been prettified instead of being left raw. Of these sculptures he writes:

Given this deep resonance, the resulting works are oddly impersonal. Spanners, horseshoes, large cogs, bits of agricultural machinery are welded into rhythmic arrangements that play with symmetry and asymmetry. Certain elements - a silhouetted dog, a guitar, a treble clef - have been specially created, but it’s difficult to see what purpose they serve, other than to add a whimsical autobiographical element. These pieces aren’t without wit, but the application of a silvery gloss finish blunts their rawness, enhancing their essentially decorative character.

The other two sections of the show feature iconic American magazine covers like Rolling Stone but blown up large and evidently on canvas with surreal images of some sort. (I have not seen them and do not even know what to guess as regards their appearance.) The last section, which Hudson did find effective, was car doors studded with bullet holes and names after Depression-era gangsters. States Hudson, Their battered, rusting surfaces are beautifully recreated, evoking the scuzzily immemorial Mid-West that has inspired some of Dylan’s best music.

Read the rest of Hudson's two star review here.

And see photos from the show here

For Hudson Dylan's foray into the art scene is a hobby. I myself have enjoyed his paintings and would really enjoy seeing this show. As for his significance as an artist, he's not dead yet and has plenty of time to prove himself. Maybe being a celebrity is too much of a handicap to overcome in order to be taken seriously.

Chris Monroe fans are many and growing.
Tonight @ Red Mug

The Red Mug in Superior is having an opening reception tonight from 5:00-7:00 p.m. for Chris Monroe and her exhibit titled Look Again. Monroe, famous for her whimsical illustrations for children's books, has a healthy fan club. The artist will be there and it's my hope to see you there, too.

Till another space in time.

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