Sat Jan 27 2007
This week, I've been urging all of my gallerygoing friends to swing by Bellwether to experience Brent Green's beguilingly grim animations (think Edward Gorey or Tim Burton, but cruder and even more macabre). Before I had seen his work, I met Green at an opening at Guild & Greyshkul in Soho. He was staying in NYC for the week to install at Bellwether (his home is in rural Pennsylvania, he explained), and was killing time before his own show opened. I chatted with the artist for a while, who gave off an air of quiet humility when describing his first solo exhibition and his newest animation, Paulina Hollers—about "an asshole kid" who gets hit by a bus and descends to hell. When I finally saw his show, however, I realized that Green is not as tranquil or unassuming as he first appeared: His films reflect the kind of deep-seated anguish as described in Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" (thank God this guy has got a creative outlet) and the kind of ingenuity only mustered by a true artist working with what rudimentary materials he has around in his barn-studio.
Being resourceful, Green has found a way to flaunt his musical chops, too: At the Knitting Factory last Tuesday 23, he provided live narration at a screening of Paulina Hollers and other films featured in his current exhibition. The Magik Markers supplied a live soundtrack (in a few songs, one band member played the saw while Green plucked the banjo), as Green's craggy spoken voice, crescendoing and ebbing with the music, brought the film to a fever pitch again and again. Overall, the performance was even more stirring than watching Green's films at the gallery—no mean feat, you'd know, if you've recently spent an afternoon captivated at Bellwether.