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LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

April 8, 2010
Amanda Visell's new solo show, opening tomorrow night, will be a short-lived affair. So short, in fact, that it will be gone on Saturday. The exhibition, titled Primeval Love, is a one night only event in a rather unusual setting, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

"Primeval Love is my first self-invested and self-produced art show," wrote the LA-based Visell last month in the statement announcing the show. "Without official gallery representation in Los Angeles, I believe that I'm in a great position to push this art movement forward towards a more independent artist-driven community." We would be remiss if we didn't point out that although Visell is without an agent in her home city she's far from the fringes of the art world. As her web bio weirdly proclaims, her work "has been seen in galleries and museums nationwide, including an exhibit and exclusive merchandise line at Disneyland USA." When you're dry-humping Mickey Mouse do you really need an Ari Gold?

Tomorrow night's Natural History Museum show is short, but brevity seems to be a recurring theme of Visell's. Primeval Love comes on the heels of her April 1st release of a "massive 20-inch 'Zebracorn Dunny'" for Kid Robot, and the show is also Visell's first solo event since 2008 (though she has participated in group shows since then). Speaking recently with the designer toy magazine Vinyl Pulse, when asked about the change in her style since her last solo outing Visell insisted there wasn't any targeted shift in direction. "I just try to push myself to get better with everything I do. Progress and grow," she said. "It doesn't mean I will, but I gotta try." Later in the article Visell elaborated on the natural evolution of her art by saying that her work was simply "growing up" with age and experience. "I feel more comfortable making it," she said flatly.

"Tic Toc Apocalypse" mini figurines for Kid Robot.


For Primeval Love, and indeed much of Visell's work, the ladies figure prominently. The banner image above, taken from "Monkey Plauge," a 16x20-inch work of cel vinyl acrylic on board ($4000) is a good example. The dominance of feminine characters is, of course, by design. "The world I live in is so boy owned and operated, I think it's easy for girls to get lost in the shadow," Visell says. "You have to fight twice as hard to be accepted as an equal not just a novelty. I feel this fight all the time. Its only natural it shows up my art."

Visell's art, as tomorrow night's show will attest, comes in various forms but always maintains her signature style. Although the focus of Primeval Love is on painting, the work on display carries the same bizarre yet playful themes as Visell's work with toys and other assorted collector items. A case in point: the "Zebracorn Dunny" for Kid Robot, the Paul Budnitz-founded imprint for limited edition toys and art. That item, in an edition of 200 pieces priced at $350 each and limited to one per customer, sold out in a few days. But while the 'Zebracorn Dunny' itself is unique and limited, the quirky style of the toy--half cute little dream creature for the backpack-toting Japanese collector and half good old weirdness--rides the wave of Playmobil-meets-Beowulf style that dominates Visell's works, from paintings to toys to sculptures.

"Griffin Wrangler" 16x20-inch vinyl acrylic on panel.


In one of her recent email treatises on the show, Visell painted the backdrop for the Natural History Museum show's development. "I created Primeval Love when I started thinking about being a tiny spec in the history of the world, how humans have barely been here, and that the destruction of one civilization is birth for another," she said. "This show is one of the possible paths life may have taken on Earth and traces of it can be found in our lives today. This world is void of oppression by men and the female characters are the stewards of natural order." Speaking with Vinyl Pulse Visell explained that while she does "create these silly characters," they are at their core "not really silly." Well, what are they then? "I think the silliness draws people in," Visell said, adding, "but say you saw my Griffin in real life... Scary right? Silly is sometimes a veil, and I think with this show you see something more."

"Castle Armor" 16x20-inch vinyl acrylic on panel.


"I have been hands-on in every aspect of this exhibition; there is no middleman translating my art to make it more palatable buyers," Visell says of the show's organization. "I built my career by being accessible to my collectors," she adds, "and I know that it is 100% because of them that I can spend my days and nights making art. I chose the Natural History Museum for this exhibition because, while it is a museum of actual creatures that lived on the same spot we are now, it's easy."

"Lion Snuggle" 24x18-inch vinyl acrylic on panel (detail).


After "doing some crazy stuff with Kidrobot" last week, Visell has continued to issue status reports on Primeval Love's development via updates and images. "I'd like my loyal peeps to get a first crack at the artwork," Visell said in a recent newsletter, making reference to a secret Typepad account where she is currently treating supporters to sneak peaks of her new artwork. As of now, however,

Visitors to the exhibition will have first dibs on a 44-page book of the same name, commemorating the show in a limited edition of 400 copies. The 6x8.25-inch paperback, according to Visell, is "basically a catalog of the artwork in the show, the process and my ideas of what the show means to me." For those unable to make the one-off event in Los Angeles, remaining copies of the book will be available via Visell's online store, Switcheroo.

Again, Friday night's event is one night only, from 7-11pm at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. For those unable to attend, view the works online now at http://primevallove.typepad.com/primevallove/.

SEE ALSO: www.amandavisell.com
SEE ALSO: www.nhm.org
SEE ALSO: www.myswitcheroo.com

--
Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other articles by Eric J Herboth.

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