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From satire to fantasy, the image tells the story

By John Carlos Cantu | News Special Writer

Saturday May 09, 2009


As is typical of Ann Arbor's ambitious Gallery Project, its "Visual Storytelling" is an extraordinary, complex investigation into contemporary graphics that features hundreds of images drawn from a computer-generated visual story in the gallery's basement. "Mirth, Mockery & Mayhem," at Eastern Michigan University's Student Center Art Gallery, takes dead aim at politics and society through high-profile cartoonists who reside (or have resided) in Michigan.


Local cartoonists on display in the Gallery Project's "Visual Storytelling" are Katie Cook ("Tricks of the Trade"); Keeli McCarthy ("Lot's Daughters"); and Adam Gabriel Winnie ("Little Red Riding Hood"). Other artists include Jeremy Bastian ("Cursed Pirate Girl"), Guy Davis ("Zombies That Ate the World"), Otis Frampton ("Oddly Normal"), Jon Morris ("Calamity Jon"), David Petersen ("Mouse Guard") and Paul Taylor ("Wapsi Square").


The exhibit has been organized by three Ann Arborites: comic book artist Katie Cook, director/editor Ryan N. Wilcox and sculptor Matt De Genaro. As the gallery statement says, the artists in this exhibit "enjoy life in virtual worlds of their own creation. In these worlds, heroes, villains and otherworldly creatures reign, waging battles for dominance and survival and questing for clarity and truth in an uncertain world."


The sheer volume and diversity of "Visual Storytelling" cuts across swaths of this largely fantasy art, with seemingly every sort of contemporary cartoon and graphic represented in intricate detail. The exhibit's culminating artwork is Bowling Green duo Anthony and Sandra Fontana's digital machinima animation "The Union," where the couple's avatars hop a mating dance in hyperspace. Don't miss it.