Art beat // Meet the fellows

Jerome Fellowship winners on display at MCAD

WHITTIER — It’s impossible to look at the recent work of the painting duo Tynan Kerr and Andrew Mazorol and not be reminded of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album cover.

The Beatles famously dressed in psychedelic regalia and posed among a crowd of life-sized cardboard cutouts of various luminaries of the arts and sciences. Kerr and Mazorol, who work in a kind of hybrid of painting and collage, achieve a similar effect, although their subjects, drawn from late-19th and early-20th century photographs, stare back with the stiff poses and dour expressions of the pre-snapshot era.

Kerr and Mazorol were the unusual joint winners of a 2009 MCAD/Jerome Foundation Fellowship, and are showing the fruits of a $10,000 grant and a year’s artistic labors at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design along with their fellow recipients Steven Accola, Caroline Kent and Tony Sunder. They enter the exhibition already floating on local buzz.

There are certain attributes of their work that make it feel particularly of-the-moment, such as the way they flatten portions of the canvas with repeating patterns of stripes, triangles and scallops, their embrace of primitivism and their unabashed appropriation of old photographs. Then there is, too, the sense of mystery that infuses each painting, as if the assembled paused at some crucial moment in an arcane ritual.

On further inspection, one wonders if the better comparison to album art isn’t “Sgt. Pepper’s,” but rather the lackluster response from Rolling Stones, “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” which lacked the crowd but did, after all, feature Mick Jagger in a wizard’s pointed hat and black cape. In any case, Kerr and Mazorol’s work emanates cool, and it wouldn’t surprise if some band were already eyeing it for an LP cover.

Other paintings in this show are by Accola, whose fever dream images emerge from a frenzy of abstraction. They can veer toward the macabre, as with the dark portrait of a clown in an oversized derby hat, but Accola’s sly touches — a dab of cadmium yellow, in this case — undercut the gloom.

Kent also offers a few paintings, but more interesting are her sculptures of plaster-covered wood, which resemble the creased and folded forms of ancient glaciers. Inspired by long visits to Iceland, Kent sets the sculptures under red and blue lights, an effect that mimics the perpetual dusk of an Arctic winter.

Sunder’s contributions to the exhibition are sometimes perplexing (inkjet prints of Internet ephemera, including Miss Universe contestants posed in their bikinis) and sometimes ambiguous but charming (a drawing of two children, made with the fewest, smallest colored pencil marks possible). But “Kids,” a looping video of two boys pushing the cameraman up and down a Minneapolis alleyway on a bicycle, is pure, straightforward joy, and a reminder of a time when all life was a game, its rules waiting to be discovered.

Go see it
The MCAD/Jerome Fellowship Exhibition runs through Nov. 7 at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 2501 Stevens Ave. 874-3700.


Chills from the page on stage

THE WEDGE — Hardcover Theater specializes in producing what Artistic Director Steve Schroer calls “unstageable” plays.

“Unstageable” is, of course, a relative term in the wider theater world where investors are free to sink tens of millions into a critical flop like the “Lord of the Rings” musical adaptation. When a small theater company is working within a budget one might guess is something less than the cost of a set of prosthetic hobbit feet that company has to get creative.

Problem: Bring the 15-foot-tall aliens of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ pulp classic “A Princess of Mars” to life on stage.

Solution: Have the human-sized actors exaggerate their height by carrying poles topped with fanged Martian heads.

The adventures of Rice’s interplanetary explorer John Carter are part of the high-fiber diet of classic pulp Hardcover Theater feeds to its audiences. For Halloween, they’ve dusted off a trio of classic horror tales from the dark corners of the bookshop: “The Beast with Five Fingers,” “Lukundoo” and “The Dunwich Horror,” the last of which will be familiar to fans of the weird-fantasy master H.P. Lovecraft.

The staging challenges this time around include bringing a severed hand to creepy, crawly life, but to discuss the solutions might ruin some surprises in the show, which plays through Halloween at Bryant-Lake Bowl.

“Weird Tales for Halloween” is an all-ages warm-up for the holiday, promising chills without gore and some dark laughs.

Go see it
“Weird Tales for Halloween” runs 7 p.m. Fridays and Sundays through Oct. 31 at Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., with an additional performance 7 p.m. Oct. 30. Tickets are $14–$18 (pay what you can) or $12 with a Fringe button. 825-8949.