Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"The REAL Life of Mannequins" revealed at Gallery 21

"Mannequins", digital art by JANINE FREE and GUY MAYENOBE

Hello All.

A new and innovative digital art exhibit has arrived at Gallery 21 in Spanish Village Art Center located in beautiful Balboa Park. It is dubbed "The REAL Life of Mannequins". The show is being "revealed" by Janine Free and Guy Mayenobe as "a digital art exhibit on metal and paper" from September 29 - October 11, 2010. The exhibit will be open daily from 11:00 to 4:00 p.m. at 1770 Village Place, San Diego, California 92101. Opening Reception is Friday, October 1, 2010 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. featuring music by the jazz band, "Endangered Speciez". Janine and Guy, ever the enthusiasts, are also throwing a Closing Reception on Sunday, October 10, 2010 from 11:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Of the show, Janine says, "that she and Guy have two radically different ways of unveiling mannequins". And, why not? We've all heard, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Why not then, perception? Janine Free is capturing reflections that look digitally manipulated, but are not, and Guy Mayenobe creates images that look real but are fabricated". Now, I tell you, that notion alone has "captured" my attention, not to mention the images that Janine kindly e-mailed me for the show's poster bill. Grab your "glad rags", "free your minds" and "surrey on down" to "The REAL Life of Mannequins", folks! I promise you won't be bored!

On the contrary, Janine Free and Guy Mayenobe are absolutely set on "expanding your horizons" and "blowing your minds"! And, here you thought mannequins were just inanimate plastic with no REAL life of their own. Well, trust Janine and Guy to "unveil" the (shhhh-hhh) truth about mannequins!

"Olive Oil", by french artist, GUY MAYENOBE

I'm back from the "REAL Life of Mannequins" opening reception, and what an experience! The art was fantastic, the music mellow and the banquet bountiful with an atmosphere reminiscent of "nights in Parisian parlors where art, wine and colorful conversation flowed into the wee hours of the dawn", or at least what I imagine it was like back then. Guests mingled and moved about the exhibit, some awed and silent, some verbally animated, but all wearing huge smiles and sparkling eyes. One simply couldn't help but smile and express wonder in this amazing show.

Well, it appears that the "truth about mannequins" is, perhaps, that there is no one "truth" which describes the mannequins that appear in this unique exhibition. True to Janine's description, she and Guy do have a totally different perception as they reveal their subjects and, therefore, an expression each their own.

Janine Free's mastery of her subject matter is based on reflected imagery and the play of light off of surfaces and glass. Everything that is seen in her photographs is actually in the scene she originally shoots. There are no "embellishments or digital additions" in Janine's images. Carefully and creatively manipulated, the many layers of images that one perceives in her photos have been exaggerated or diminished, moved forward or into the background to create the effect that she wants one to see. Janine takes only one photograph in her process, and then skillfully creates an image that gives the viewer the impression that she has superimposed several photos over top of each other. Oh, how "not so"! Clever girl, that Janine.

Guy Mayenobe enhances and transforms inanimate plastic or wooden mannequins into human like forms by blending eyes and lips from "real people" into the digital images. Sometimes the subjects looked like mannequins with human eyes and lips. Other times, when I thought the mannequin was a real person with implemented lips, it was just the opposite. The resulting photographs were mesmerizing and mind bending. I felt a kind of "hypnosis" when I stood looking at Guy's images, slightly disorientated and unable to pull my vision away from the eyes of the figures. I got a feeling of drifting, being "drawn in" to the photographs, and then of suddenly regaining awareness and shaking myself to return to a sense of reality. I kept expecting the mannequins to actually speak. Simply, mesmerizing, Guy!

I have always found it intriguing to listen to the conversations of visitors at any art exhibition. This exhibition was no different. At one point, as I sipped my glass of white wine, one visitor asked me if I knew which of the crowd were the artists. I answered, smilingly, and pointed out Janine and Guy as they spoke with the guests. They were both, winningly, humble and soft spoken enjoying their interaction with the visitors as much as the guests enjoyed meeting them. The guest that I was speaking with expressed, "I would have expected a much younger woman as the photographer, given the subject matter in the photographs". I quickly retorted, without hesitation, "Ahh, but, they are French you see",(including Guy in the description). "Their minds and spirits are forever young and fashionable"! The visitor smiled broadly, and said, "Oh, that's how they do it". I sighed a joi(full), "Yes"! We both smiled even wider, if that was possible, and turned to admire "Olive Oil" as she gazed back with a "revealing eye"!

Hold that thought...pose...thought! You know what I mean. Ever see a mannequin that wasn't posing? I guarantee Janine Free and Guy Mayenobe haven't. Strike a pose and "Vogue...Vogue...Vogue"!

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted, 2010, all rights reserved

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