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Monday, January 25, 2010

Over the Weekend: New Villager at Lowerdeck

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 8:59 AM

New Villager
Saturday, Jan. 24, 2010

Photos by Katie Bachner

Better than:
Being at a venue where you aren't encouraged to draw on the walls.

Just when you think you've seen everything, a band puts on a show at a space that immerses you in their world--your eyes, ears, and even nose at the mercy of the environment. Such was the case with New Villager and Ecotones, the art show/event the duo curated with Katie Bachner (a curator at Johansson Projects in Oakland) at Lowerdeck, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it basement space in Dogpatch.  

Those who followed the cues for Lowerdeck's location--keeping an eye out for visitors arriving or leaving along an almost hidden stairway--were treated to a truly underground event. The walls, ceilings, even bathrooms were overtaken in a giant installation of stuffed animals, videos about deer, fake blood, illustrations, and graffiti both created and encouraged by the hosts.

In the bathroom, furry, reconfigured children's toys hung from the ceiling, while further down in the cave-like environment, their legs, arms, heads, and eyeballs had also been reassigned to one another, making for a strange, mutant creature pile. In another corner, a large beast sat with its jaws open like an extra from a nightmarish Where the Wild Things Are scene.

The gallery was a labyrinth of macabre and more serene scenes. A small child's tent was outfitted with a large coke mirror in one area, while in another, a sound installation being projected from a tape player made images of fake blood all over the walls that much more eerie.

The materials used in these scenes only further enveloped you in the artists' fantasies, the strong scents of paint, or a very earthy clay/dirt smell, permeating the room.

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Ian S. Port


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