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For Whom Were You Anointed?

Suspiria is a stunning remake of a 1977 cult favorite by Luca Guadagnino, who also directed 2017’s achingly lovely Call Me By Your Name. Loosely based on Dario Argento’s colorful and visually inspiring original, this film far surpasses its predecessor in my opinion. It borrows the intriguing bones, the atmosphere, the incoherent narrative of the first movie and transforms the concept into a taut, thrilling, and haunting piece of cinema with glorious visuals and a solidly compelling story.

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Saintesses by Sad Riot

These are lovely interpretations of four female saints by Sad Riot: Lucy whose emblem is eyes on a golden plate, her eyes having been taken out; Philomena the virgin martyr who underwent numerous torments, scourging, drowning, being shot by arrows (and was finally decapitated), rather than become the Emperor Diocletian’s wife; Maria Goretti the eleven-year-old child, stabbed fourteen times with an awl; and Cecilia, who lived for three days after being struck on the neck three times with a sword.

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Semi-Opaque Sleeper: The Art of Christina Bothwell

These extraordinary and peculiar sculptures by Christina Bothwell play with transparency, opacity, and the meanings conveyed by textural contrasts. Suffering seems to engrave the faces of her figures and to stamp its personality upon them. They have a naive simplicity along with their subtle symbolic tones. I have never seen sculptures quite like these before, and they are instantly distinctive and unforgettable. Her rendition of the sleeper using solid, opaque substance for the physical form and that lovely, occluded-glass material for the astral body or spirit is such a succinct, apt, and beautiful visual metaphor. Friendship, childhood, transformation, isolation, the aching love and expectancy of motherhood, the waking nightmares of life…everything within the shadowy depths of the vast human heart seems embodied in her bold yet delicate sculptures.

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Pan and the Maiden: Hand Embroidery by Adipocere

Melbourne-based embroidery artist Adipocere, whose exquisite fabric works I posted about previously, is a needlecrafter of a marvelous magnitude and takes this medium to a whole new level. These pieces are lovely, tender, humorous, macabre and subtly disturbing.

“Adipocere” refers to a wax-like organic substance which is formed by bacterial hydrolysis of body fat in corpses. A fitting pseudonym for this artist of the jauntily grotesque. Adipocere is a devotee of Surrealism and stop-motion animation (their favorite film being the stop-motion short The Street of Crocodiles by the Quay Brothers, based on the incandescent 1934 short story of the same title by Bruno Schulz), and experimented in other mediums before taking to needle and thread. Adipocere had their debut solo show, I do not exist, at the Beinart Gallery in Melbourne, Australia in December of 2017.

Danse macabre, Death and the Maiden, the occult, and similar themes inspire these stitched artworks on natural linen (and sometimes on the artist’s skin). The raven-haired maidens/witches of this delicate textile world go about partially eviscerated, cavort with giant black cats, are lovingly embraced or menaced by leering skeletons, or caught in webs in a complex, oft-ambiguous relationship between worshiper and idol, victim and destroyer. Spiders, moths, bats, skulls, Satanic goats, exposed anatomy, and deadly flora abound in Adipocere’s dark, minimal yet suggestive vision.

This artwork uses “motifs and symbolism to delineate concepts such as martyrdom, asceticism, existentialism, and the eventuality of death.” It also has touches of irony, an element of camp and retro charm. Adipocere breathes new life into a great-grandmotherly medium that has traditionally been very sedate and by no means overimaginative, turning it into something irreverent and intriguing.

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Fire

“I have to be rent and pulled apart and live according to the demons and the imagination in me. I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.”

{Anais Nin}

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Lana Crooks’ Soft Curiosities

Lana Crooks constructs perfect, delicate, macabre little “soft sculptures” out of hand-dyed wool, silk, seed beads, and vintage materials. They are like Victorian mourning relics in plush form. Bird skulls dripping blood like jewels, snake bones, death’s-head moths, human teeth, and lush, funereal flowers repose beneath antique bell jars. Whimsical, imaginative, resplendently colored and gorgeous, her “faux specimens” are artfully arranged, reminding one of some long-dead madcap’s oddities collection and also giving off a curious effect of two-dimensional drawings brought to three-dimensional life. These soft creations blending natural history and craft are exquisite and adorable.

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