LAGUNA BEACH, CA: We cruised down to check out Dennis McNett's much anticipated solo show, Wolfbat Shamans and The Whale of Gratitude, at AR4T gallerySaturday, February 4th, presented by VANS. The show was hands down amazing,from hand-carved wood Shaman Masks and totem faces, Portholes, Shields, prints, and a seriously impressive installation–the Whale of Gratitude. Congrats on a great show Dennis. Everyone should go see this show which is up for about 2 months!
"McNett's artistic practice focuses on storytelling through mythopoetic images, sculptures, and public events/performances. His vocabulary of images borrows freely from Greek and Norse myths, Mexican muertos, and the animal kingdom, all synthesized into an idiosyncratic style that is deeply heartfelt. Often inspired by the spirits of close friends and admired figures, McNett has evolved these characters into a unique and personal mythology. Chief among these is the "Wolfbat," a flying creature with bat wings and the head of a wolf. Inspired by the misunderstood Fenris of Norse myth, the Wolfbat "wakes up the sleeping spirit" and was featured in the 2007 Deitch Projects Art Parade in the form of masks worn by participants. Other characters and creatures include eagles, wolves, and skeletons, some of which have been developed into live, impromptu performances in the public sphere." - AR4T press release.
Here's a whole view of one side of the gallery with Dennis's installation of the Wolfbat Shamans and the Whale of Gratitude.
Girlfriend Miryam and artist Dennis McNett.
WolfBat Shamans and The Whale of Gratitude
New works and sculptures by Dennis McNett
February 4 thru March 24, 2012
210 North Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
On PCH 1/2 block north of Broadway
It's been a few years since he had a show in California, so we were pretty excited to head down to Laguna Beach to see catch the show at AR4T gallery.
Works by Dennis McNett
AR4T's Torrey Cook and Dana Nichols.
Also equally intriguing is the mythology that Dennis has created for each piece of art, and in this case, for the entire show.
Here's my short summary: Two Shamans have conjured the Whale of Gratitude by opening a porthole to the world, in this case Laguna Beach. The whale grows larger and larger with wishes and acts of gratitude.
Using the shamans as guides, you, the viewer, are the newest shaman.
The show is the ceremony for the new beginnings of the whale and its annual journey. When the whale is overgrown, it pours out its gratitude back through a second porthole, which dispenses all the positivity back around.
During this, the Shamans guide the tribesmen through the portholes: each with a different purpose, like contacting your ancestors for advice. Every year this will happen.
Back to pictures.
I ran into artist and Human Pyramids Collective dude Ben Brough who bought probably one of my favorite pieces, Pan, of the show.
As most Dennis McNett fans know, he's always got really affordable prints at his shows. AR4T's Brian Cook shows me a few for only $20.
I love this one, and it was only $20.
But I used some my grocery money to buy this one. A newer McNett print for $20.
Mike from Volcom got one too. . . $20? probably.
Crow bird prints
Close ups of the patterns on the Wolfbat Shamans.
Russ Pope cruises by with an art gift for Dennis. He'll be having a solo show at AR4T April 5th!
Pretty sure that mask is alive.
I also ran and chatted with artist Evan Rossell with his lady. Nice folks.
Russ discussing the proper way to transport a McNett print. Not laying flat like I'd thought, but rolled up nice and big.
Almost had a picture of another child leaning pretty much inside of the Whale of Gratitude's mouth. . . but blew it!
It's always rad to run into artist Bill McRight who lives in San Pedro. Seriously go check out his stuff.
Russ going face to face with the McNett print.
Around 8 pm, the band el Mysterioso played. They were rad dudes.
Russ gives two thumbs up to the show and performance.
Watch your back dude. . . that mask is going to take a bite out of you.
Graduate school buddies Dennis McNett and Bill McRight. Dennis, you KILLED it. . . great show. Go see it – it's up for 2 months!
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