Nocturnes

Animation at its most basic is the focus of this quiet group show mounted by local curator Fionn Meade. Without exception, the works are restrained and intentionally low-tech; most of the videos are monochromatic and made with rudimentary stop-motion. It's almost as if these pieces were reluctant to make the step from static images to moving ones. In Lucy Raven's series of silent videos, a drawing is transformed into a process by documenting its slow accumulation. Similarly, Cat Clifford's little paper diorama of houses and pickups is displayed in two forms: as a motionless installation and as a video in which the objects playfully zoom to life (my 2-year-old daughter especially loved this piece). In Clifford's two other monochrome videos, called These Things Happen on My Farm, not much happens at all: At most, a crow floats by, leaving a wake of ink scratchings. This is animation at its most primal, and there's a dreamy, hallucinatory quality to these little scenes. Somewhat more involved is Laleh Khorramian's near-abstract parable Sophie and Goya (pictured), a 10-minute video of muted colors and puppetlike figures, all acting out an enigmatic pageant—part Balinese puppet show, part Baroque masque. In all of these works, the influence of William Kentridge, the South African artist and animator known for intentionally rough, "Stone Age" filmmaking, is palpable. Mary Simpson's video and etchings are the most effective of the show's many works—mysterious little backwoods vignettes that occur in some undefined past, a postmodern mythology where men in hats enter a Dantean selva oscura, perhaps never to return. SOIL, 112 Third Ave. S., 206-264-8061, www.soilart.org. Noon-5 p.m. Thurs.-Sun. Ends Oct. 2.

 
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