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Art Seen: Matt Gilbert's animations at Whitespace

The multimedia collaboration currently showing at Whitespace Gallery, Unless & Until, began as a series of paintings by Julie Püttgen that inspired a story to correspond with them by JS van Buskirk, a childhood friend of Püttgen. Lyrics from that story were later adapted to music by James Carlson, a colleague of Püttgen's at Sewanee in Tennessee. Then, through a call for help through the internet, Matt Gilbert was enlisted to create animations of Püttgen's paintings set to Carlson's music of Buskirk's lyrics. Did you catch all that?

The most important point is that Gilbert's animations came last and, as such, they bear the fruit of a convoluted yet productive collaboration. The implied, playful fantasies in Püttgen's paintings and narrative twists of Buskirk feel the most realized in Gilbert's music-video-like animations. It's important to note that Gilbert isn't just a contracted animator in the collaboration. His own interest in the mathematic properties of Islamic art give "Perdita's Monastic Song" a kaleidoscopic feel, while the animation for "Trader's Song" is detailed with references to the history of early film experiments.

You could check out some of the work at unlessanduntil.info, including a postage-stamp sized version of "Perdita's Monastic Song," but you'd miss on many of the details that make this collaboration fascinating. It'd be better to check out the wall-sized projections and brightly colored paintings at Whitespace, where they'll be shown until the middle of next month.

Unless & Until, featuring work by Julie Püttgen, JS van Buskirk, James R. Carlson and Matt Gilbert, runs until June 19 at Whitespace Gallery.



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