Non-Photo Pencil Blues features the work of artists who draw upon comics, cartooning and animation as a framework to craft unique forms of visual and narrative experimentation. The show takes its name from non-photo blue, a shade of blue that cannot be picked up by copier and is thus used by illustrators to create under-drawings that will not be visible after inking. Artist Michael Caudo recounts that as a child, he would draw with blue pencil out of want to resemble the illustrations that he saw in animation books. This metaphorical relationship between mimicry and visibility persist through all of the exhibited works, be it the direct representation of children’s drawings that brush with adulthood, the performed id resultant of a human and animal kinship, or the simulated movement through a digital-physical composite space. The exhibited works both explore animation techniques and playfully reference fundamental elements of comics such as caricature, panel and text, revealing the possibility of these tools to condense and distill experiences of memory, time, humor and emotion.
Michael Caudo’s multimedia artworks are based on collages of text and image assembled from a personal archive of illustrated books, childrens’ drawings, newspaper clippings, and other material. Through a combination of painting and screenprinting, he enlarges these images onto steel panels that are cut, folded and layered to suggest the tactility of paper. The resultant works both evoke personal, often childlike, memories and associations and celebrate the material traces of various graphic styles.
Who’s A Good Girl (2018) is one of a series of stop-motion clay and puppet animations by artist Evie Metz. Centering around a confrontation between two women walking their dogs in the park, the vignette considers the false dichotomy between humans and animals. Just as the video blurs the lines between human and animal, it considers how notions of instinctual behavior oscillate between varying degrees of violence and care. Metz uses claymation to render these ideas in a manner at once playful, exaggerated, and sensitive to their complexity.
Taehee Whang exhibits charcoal drawings, zines, and video from the 2018-2019 project Walking to my Grandfather’s Mound. The drawings are treated as part of the storyboard for a digitally animated video in which Whang visits their grandfather’s grave site in a South Korean village solely via Google Maps. The characters in the drawings and video, somewhere between human and non-human, function as animated sprites through which a grandfather’s memory can be kept alive. Walking to My Grandfather’s Mound explores how mourning, memory, ritual, and heritage can be both maintained and mediated through technological environments. To reflect the nature of of its content, Walking to My Grandfather’s Mound was exhibited solely online with a zine and drawings from the storyboard presented as individual works in the gallery.