IKONS From the Temple of the Hee Hee
re. the collaboration between Garry Eister and artist Mark Bryan
GE and artist Mark Bryan at an undisclosed location
Mark Bryan and Garry Eister met on 3/27/93 at the Art Links Gallery in Los Osos, CA. where Eister was performing his dramatic monologue, THE GOD GUY SPEAKS, and his song cycle, THE SHORT MAN. Several of Bryan's paintings were on display. One of them was a shadow box painting of an empty picture frame on a pedestal on a stage. The picture frame was on fire. Eister suggested to Bryan that it would be fun to make soundtracks for pieces such as these. Bryan replied that for some time, he had been wanting to include sound as an element in his sculptures, and thus began their collaboration. (Note: The Art Links Gallery is now closed. It's not our fault.) Since that time, they have made a number of small sound-animated sculptures, and three larger pieces, THE FATHER OF LIES, THE SCREAMING BUNNY and THE INSOMNIAC. Their work has been seen and heard at the Arts Link Gallery in Los Osos, CA., the John Thomas Gallery in Santa Monica, CA., The Riverside Museum of Art and the Art Works Gallery in Riverside, CA., The Scarlet Pallette Gallery in Cambria, CA., the Himovitz Gallery in Sacramento, CA and the August Editions Gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA.
VISIT MARK ON THE WEB at:
THE FATHER OF LIES
Kathy Barata is an Angel; Garry Eister is the Devil
in The Father of Lies
As a piece of sculpture, Bryan and Eister's most ambitious work, THE FATHER OF LIES, is a 9 1/2 foot figure which incorporates two television sets, one on top of the other. The top set shows a picture of one of Bryan's eyes, and the bottom set shows Eister's mouth. The sculpture, animated in performance, is one of the characters in a two-part theatrical presentation of the same name. The first part, a one-act opera, is also entitled THE FATHER OF LIES; the second part, which calls for a small company of dancing Devilettes, is entitled THE LANDSCAPE OF HELL. The name, the Father of Lies, is, of course, one of the names for the Devil. The other character in THE FATHER OF LIES is an Angel, protrayed by a soprano. In the opera, the Devil uses his crude sense of humor, his quirky charm, and even philosophical arguments about God to try to seduce the Angel. She resists and finally leaves him to fume and spout his lies. In THE LANDSCAPE OF HELL, "an autobiography of the Devil," the dancers frame and support the Devil, providing a kind of terpsichorian commentary as well as miming several of his stories. For this portion of the piece, the modular sculpture is seated upon a golden throne. The first performance of the entire work was staged at the Cuesta College Interact Theater in June of 1995. It was produced by Anet Gillespie-Carlin, with choreography by Kate Fitzgerald Mc Hugh and technical design and direction by Richard Jackson. THE FATHER OF LIES was commissioned by Linnea Phillips and The Coastal Access Musician's Alliance, Andy Harp and Jennifer Sayres, directors.
THE DEVIL: When God Made Me, I was Beautiful
THE SCREAMING BUNNY
The Screaming Bunny
Bryan's second big work of video sculpture, for which Eister has written a three-part theatrical piece, is THE SCREAMING BUNNY, a large stuffed rabbit whose face has been replaced with three television monitors, two depicting eyes and one showing his mouth. The bunny is strapped into a "screaming-bunny-restraining-chair. " In part one of THE SCREAMING BUNNY, an actor portrays a research scientist who has brought the bunny home as a part of an animal research experiment. The actor and the bunny never interact. Instead, we hear the text of a letter that the scientist writes, explaining the experiment and it's unexpected cruel metamorphosis to a friend. At the end of the piece, the bunny sings a poignant song about his connectedness to the Earth. Parts two and three are about the bunny's life in the lab.
About Mark Bryan
Mark Bryan was educated at the Cal Poly School of Architecture and holds an M.A. from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. From his Corbett Canyon studio come dreamlike creations: sculptures which talk and sing, totem figures, cabinets which blend both furniture construction and wood sculpting techniques, paintings in oil or acrylics on wood, often influenced by images from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. In addition to the galleries listed above, Bryan's work has been shown in the Mano Gallery in Brentwood, the San Luis Obispo Art Center, UCSD, the Williams/Lamb Gallery in Long Beach, the Schwartz/Cierlak Gallery in Santa Monica, and the Sonrisa and Ivey Galleries, both in Los Angeles. His work has been collected by Bruce Joel Ruben, John Mc Enroe and Tatum O'neill, Rae Dawn Chong, C. Thomas Howell, Lawrence Welk, Jr., the TransAmerica Corporation and others.
The bunny was being exhibited in Sacramento in a rather well-thought of and successful gallery called The Himovitz Gallery. The Himovitz folks reported that the reaction to the bunny was phenomenal. They had people showing up at nine in the morning, when they first opened their doors, just to see the bunny. Apparently, this kind of response to a piece is unheard of in their years of experience. At the recent Sacramento Phantom Gallery and Art Walk event, hundreds of people stopped by and laughed at the bunny's pathetic ravings. Children stood mesmerized, one woman was overheard imitating the bunny's carryings-on, another patron insisted that the bunny's mouth was that of a genuine institutionalized psychotic, and one wit even mused, "This is supposed to be art!?"
(note: The Himovitz Gallery has closed. It's not our fault. 11/9/01)
The Screaming Bunny (part 1) appears at the opening of Chris August's gallery. The Father of Lies put in a brief appearance in an effort to sell CD's.
The Bunny screams again! On Halloween, 00, we premiered part two of THE SCREAMING BUNNY SONGS at Chris August's gallery in San Luis Obispo, CA. In part two, we see the Bunny in the lab with Mr. Man who writes another letter explaining something of the Bunny's education into the ways of humans. At the end, the Bunny sings two songs: IF I WAS A MAN and BUNNY LOVE.
The Bunny is whole.
The Bunny appeared at the Chris August Gallery on Saturday, 6/23/01. About 35 patrons (a full house at Chris' place) enjoyed the first full showing of the Complete Screaming Bunny, which included the premier of part three.
8/12 & 8/19/06
The Bunny screamed again at the Steynberg Gallery in San Luis Obispo. There were two full houses of people who wanted to let the Bunny out of the chair.
Bryan and Eister's Collaborative Works to Date
- Thunder Theater
Wooden sculpture with soundtrack.
Thunder Theater is a puppet-sized theater with a stormy sky painted on its back wall. The theater is rigged with light and sound such that, when it is activated, there is the effect of thunder and lightning on the stage.
- Hell Theater
Wooden sculpture with soundtrack.
Hell Theater is another puppet-sized theater with a stormy sky painted on its back wall. There is a set of steps going down from an opening at center stage. Hell Theater is rigged with light and sound. When it is activated, one hears thunder and sees the flickering light of lightning on the stage. The thunder ceases and is followed by the sound of fire crackling and an eerie red light flickering from the opening at center stage. In addition to the crackling of hellfire, one soon hears the cries of a tormented sufferer. This fades, then the cycle begins again.
- Know Your Death
Wooden sculpture with soundtrack
Know Your Death is an elaborately painted box whose primary figure is Death. Floating in the sky above the figure of Death are three leering skulls whose mouths are coin slots large enough to accomodate a dime. At the bottom of the face of the box are a number of compartments enclosed in glass. Each compartment is labelled with one of the various causes of death (some of the compartments are "Accident" "Old Age" "War" and so on.) When a person drops a dime into one of the floating skulls, the dime bounces around inside the box and eventually falls into one of the compartments, predicting the person's mode of death. There is a single slot in the center of the box which allows the player to retreive the dime. This slot is labelled "You Have Cheated Death." The soundtrack for Know Your Death consists of carousel music and a bored and mildly hostile sounding carney barker, encouraging the viewer to "Drop a dime in the death's head. You can't cheat if you don't know the score. Drop a dime in the death's head. Do it now!" and so on.
- The Father of Lies
Lift My Tongue Gently Upwards
- Lift my Tongue Gently Upwards
Wooden sculpture with soundtrack.
Lift My Tongue Gently Upwards is a wooden box with a face which is made of an elaborately carved piece of wood, a pair of life-sized plaster teeth, and a carved wooden tongue, protruding from between the teeth. When the tongue is lifted, a switch is thrown which causes there to be played a recording of a goofy humming tune, the kind that can only be sung by sticking out one's tongue in the fashion of the tongue on the box.
- The Temple of the Hee Hee
Wooden sculpture with soundtrack
The Temple of the Hee Hee is a wooden box in the style of a greek temple. On its face are two sets of clenched plaster teeth. When the box is activated, there is played a recording of a goofy, antiphonal, two-voiced tune. Each of the two voices eminates from behind one of the sets of clenched teeth. The sole syllable which is repeatedly sung is, of course, hee, which is sung, of course, through clenched teeth.
- The Insomniac
Installation to be used in conjunction with theatrical performance.
The Insomniac consists of two small TVs, sitting on their sides in a bed. The TV closest to the headboard shows an eye. The TV next to it shows a mouth. There is a blanket covering what appears to be the body connected to this "TV head." (See The Father of Lies' "TV head" above for reference.) There is a bedside table with a lamp and an ashtray. In the "live" performance version of the piece, the Insomniac has trouble sleeping as self-doubts and past failures race through his brain. In the second version of the piece, which has been broadcast as a part of The Pictures In My Head Radio Theater, the story is the interior monologue of a paranoid loser who worries overmuch that his dreamgirl is being stolen by the Evil Dentist.
for more see The Pictures in My Head Radio Theater
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