Page 45 Review by Stephen
Dilate your mind!
WHAT IT IS:
Jim Woodring, the creator of WEATHERCRAFT, FRAN, FRANK, JIM, the PROBLEMATIC sketchbook and so much, more presents 27 landscape tableaux (including the front and back covers) given the old-school 3-D treatment by Charles Barnard then printed on hard board as thick as an Early Learning book. It comes with a set of spectacles which only Woodring could have designed, framed in purple and adorned with the cosmos, and protected by a transparent plastic pouch popped into an inset pocket.
WHY WE CARE:
Well, Woodring, obviously.
Also, I've been in love with this sort of 3-D transmogrification ever since I was a child. Unlike 3-D modelling which aspires to reality, it is, as the word implies, truly magical. It doesn't aspire to reality but a heightened reality in which flat objects float in a three-dimensional depth, almost as if suspended and luminously lit in a clear, viscous liquid.
WHY IT WORKS SO WELL FOR WOODRING:
Woodring's art has always been magical and hyper-real. I've often described it as "mind-altering yet legal". Plus while Frank, Pupshaw and Pushpaw are rendered without texture, his objects and landscapes come with carefully crafted, graduated contours which create a depth of their own.
Seen through rose- and blue-tinted glasses these populated tableaux become dioramas worthy of Restoration Theatre sets: the sort of stagecraft which produces not just a foreground for the actors to work in and a backdrop to set the scene, but layers and layers of contrasting, ornately shaped flats in multiple middle-distances. The exotic, convex domes and concaves scoops of Jim's Persian architecture make them prime candidates for this peer-to-one-side-and-you-might-see-a-little-more illusion.
In addition the foreground characters appear like cardboard cut-outs arranged freestanding as part of the ensemble as if using folded-back, ground-level tabs. One scene here depicts the ever-hubristic Frank laughing at a bipedal frog, head bagged in a sack, which always danced but now seems to jig or jerk about in this colloidal suspension with a new sense of movement.
One last example before I go to bed and dream Jim Woodring anew: there's a gnarled old tree with a knotted trunk, writhing branches and twigs twisted like tendrils. Like a gorgeously grotesque Christmas tree, it's festooned with trinkets which now dangle as if from a nursery-room mobile in three-dimensional space, one the other, never on the same plain.