On view Feb. 6 - May 4, 2014, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
's MATRIX 168 features work by widely-acclaimed artist Allison Schulnik. Centering on the museum premiere of "Eager" (2014), a new stop-motion, clay animation video by Schulnik, the exhibition also includes the artist's 2011 film, "Mound," which Schulnik describes as, "a celebration of the moving painting," and which The New York Times says, "demonstrates the thrill of old-fashioned animation."
Schulnik's clay animation videos feature lonely, marginalized characters accompanied by moody and obscure musical pieces. Both "Eager" and "Mound" employ traditional animation techniques, which Schulnik learned while studying with legendary animator Jules Engel, a contributor to Disney classics "Fantasia" (1940) and "Bambi" (1942), and founding director of the Experimental Animation Program at California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts).
"I draw from dance, movies, music, cartoons, once-loved discarded relics, long-loved junk classics, myself and loved ones, strangers and stars, fools and sages," said Schulnik. "I like to meld earthly fact, blatant fiction and a love for raw material and the hand-made to form a stage of tragedy, farce, and ominous, crude beauty."
Accompanying Schulnik's videos, the adjacent gallery features a fantastical installation of 14 paintings and a motley cast of sculptures on mismatched pedestals-which directly connect to her videos through subject matter, color palette and heavy impasto effects. The tactile nature of Schulnik's paintings creates a motion-like sensibility that affords them unparalleled depth and energy.
"Allison Schulnik is a bright young artist whose work aligns with the goals of the MATRIX series well," said Patricia Hickson, Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art. "Her work in mixed media is relevant to how artists are working today to eliminate barriers between disciplines, creating pieces that transcend simple subject matter."
Schulnik was born in San Diego in 1978 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation from Cal Arts. In addition to art making, she has a background in dance and is also a musician. These ongoing activities inform her art. Schulnik's works reside in notable collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and the Musée des beaux-arts, Montréal. Schulnik's animation can be seen in the indie-rock band Grizzly Bear's music video for "Ready, Able," and she was also recently featured as a Critic's Pick in Artforum. She is represented by Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles, and ZieherSmith Inc., New York, where "Eager" will be on view through Feb. 22.