This girl wore leg warmers, hand warmers, hoodie, and fishnet tights on an overcast and misty afternoon that almost welcomed such outrageously layered coverage. (Cool backpack; great skirt.)
I loved the chance to take a stroll inside MICA’s Decker and Meyerhoff Galleries and survey the brilliant array of Sondheim semifinalists’ work. Above, “Image Bank” is a magical view of actual cloud formations. See the heart, see the arrow, the buffalo, the seahorse, the human dog, the dragon-swan, the unicorn skeleton… Well, what do you see?
How much is that horse-doggie in the window? Sondheim semifinalist Keith Bentley’s piece makes me want to adopt a puppy…or ride a pony. When I looked up cauda equina, I learned that it’s a “bundle of nerves occupying the spinal column below the spinal cord in most vertebrates…that serves the legs.” Also important: I recalled on this gray afternoon the otherworldly, please-pet-me charms of Cousin Itt on “The Addams Family.”
Bridget Sue Lambert, another semifinalist, invites visitors inside a fascinating miniature world, this room complete with an ashtray, a phone, a beer bottle, some shiny high heels, and an armchair as alluring as an after-dinner mint. The huge horse-dog could never live here. Isn’t the carpet something to ponder?
This riveting painting was hard for me to shoot by cell — because it moves as you’re looking at it. Horses emerge before you realize they exist in the large work. A favorite Artscape event by painter Lauren Bollini, a Sondheim semifinalist.
We had to peek through a window installed in a small tent to glimpse this surreal landscape: animals moving mechanically, shifting in repetitive motion. At first they seemed surreal, then real, then I thought of Chuck E. Cheese scenarios and bubble gum machine prizes. This work, by artist/designer Chad Tyler and engineer Topher McFarland blew my mind. Part of a group show called AtTENTion, curated by René Treviño — inspired by the Occupy Movement, by the idea of an ephemeral festival mode, and even more — this piece stood out among many active and interactive tents, each one containing its own world to welcome the drunk and sober spectators inside.
Cast from people living in Baltimore shelters, this AtTENTion installation by Lania D’Agostino pulled me in easy. A disheveled man approached as we were walking away — he said he was the real thing, a homeless man, and I believe that he spoke the truth. D’Agostino’s gorgeous sculpture, exposed to the elements, felt relevant in the face of this poignant moment, not pretentious or disconnected. Not embarrassing.
One last thing: Smucker’s was giving away free natural peanut butter at the festival. Peanut butter. Another form of art, no doubt.