Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Under the Influence: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Art Extravaganza" Part II

ExperienceLA bloggers Julie and Charity attended a recent opening of the "Under the Influence: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Art Extravaganza" (open now through January 29) exhibition at Gallery 1988 on Melrose last Friday evening. Part II is a recap of Charity's experience.

There was a line out the door and down the street on opening night.  This didn't surprise me as I'm a big fan of He-Man and She-Ra (I own the DVDs).  What did suprise me (in a good way) was the sheer variety and creativity of the artwork influenced by He-Man and the Masters of the Universe at this exhibition.  From the whimsical to the beautiful to the humorous both He-Man and non-He-Man fans alike are sure to find something they admire. (Left: NC Winters - Nothing to Cringe At)

I'll never look at a haircut or a trip to the dentist the same way again after seeing Kiersten Essenpreis' "Skeletor Gets a Root Canal" and "Trimming the Bowl Cut".  It's the things you don't really think about when you're like five and watching sword fights and magic and identities being revealed.  Of *course* He-Man needs someone to cut his hair and Skeletor needs to have someone to maintain that impeccable toothy grin...  Or well, maybe not.  But it is fun to think about and I greatly appreciate Essenpreis' interpretation.  (Left: Skeletor Gets A Root Canal).

And have you ever thought about what it would be like if we transposed all those great characters into high school?  LOUD-TREE did and it is then no wonder that Skeletor grew up to become the villian if "Prince Adam is A Jerk" is any indication of this alternate reality.  Perhaps the prince gave Skeletor one-too-many wedgies and he heard one-too-many laughs throughout those high school years.  Or maybe he was just discriminated against for being the one with a green skull instead of beautiful blonde hair.  If so, maybe we all should be a little bit sympathetic, a little bit more understanding of Skeletor and his ways. (Left: Prince Adam Is A Jerk by LOUD-TREE)

My favorite - for all its Los Angeles glory (I'm bias, I know) - was DabsMyla's "Los Masters" a five-piece art work featuring Canter's Fairfax sign.  There's something so Angeleno about it and I love Canter's.  I can dig a showdown on Fairfax between He-Man and Skeletor.  Not to mention, it's interesting to see the types of kicks that Skeletor and He-Man choose to wear.  That's not exactly a topic the tv show touched upon.  (Left: DabsMyla's Los Masters)

But amid all the laughs from the more humorous intepretations, I loved the gorgeous artwork that came from this exhibition from the more gothic-tinged interpretations by Megan Majewski in "Sorceress and The Cave of Departed Prey" to the classic Lady Madonna image on Dan Lydersen's oil painting of "Madonna Tella'Na" to the beautiful and intricately painted white hair gradient to feathers from Danielle Rizzolo's "The Origin of the Sorceress" (See Right).  I highly recommend this exhibition to fans of both these 80s cartoons and those who just appreciate art in general.  You don't need to know the characters to find the humor of the art and the beauty.  But that knowledge of the stories, the nostalgia of past memories of 80s childhoods, can't help but make it all the better.

-Charity Tran
Photos from 1988 Gallery Link

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