IKONS From the Temple of the Hee Hee

re. the collaboration between Garry Eister and artist Mark Bryan

updated 7/18/02

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.


www.artof markbryan.com


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 mp3 (3.1mb)


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

Back to the INDEX


| recordings | | upcoming performances | | works | | press | | radio theater | | glass armonica (opera) | | bio |

send e-mail to geister@fix.net