I'm a Stranger Here Myself

Leslie Brack

Opening Reception 5.25.10 - 6PM
Photos: Zack Patton
Howdy, Stranger

The opening reception for I'm A Stranger Here Myself, a Leslie Brack exhibition, will be held this Saturday, May 22, in the D.D. Art Enterprises' hand-crafted Shack at Signal Camp. The exhibit will be accompanied by a screening of rare cult film Johnnie Guitar.

Retro-camp and pop style converge at an installation of Leslie Brack's recent paintings, which will be exhibited this weekend in artist and architect David Dixon's charming and unique space on East Shore Drive. The paintings, mostly oil on canvas, are based on text or image fragments from early 1970s American magazines. Misplaced, shown without accompanying images, and replicated in paint rather than in the familiar glossy print of a magazine, the tone of these paintings is coy, simultaneously playful and uncanny, which produces a effect of slight displacement in the viewer. Routinely reproduced typographies and familiar colors ground the works, however, culminating in a gentle push-and-pull of slightly scrambled indicators offset by more familiar signs and signals.

Saturday's reception for the artist will be followed by a screening of the hard-to-find film Johnny Guitar. "This 1954 cult-classic was directed by Nicholas Ray (Rebel without a Cause) and filmed in Technicolor," Brack noted in an email to Post editors. "It is a campy,color-saturated western-noir written by a blacklisted writer as allegory for the era's McCarthyism and stars Joan Crawford who demanded that the script be rewritten so that she could have the lead "man's" part."

Johnny Guitar exerted significant influence on several of the NouvelleVague directors and gets directly referenced in several Jean-Luc Godard films, said film critic Joshua Land, frequent contributor to the Museum of the Moving Image and Time Out magazines. "Two of the most salient aspects of the film are Ray's highly stylized, even expressionist, use of color and the presence of women in two of the three principal roles—both highly unusual for a Hollywood western."

"I feel a resonance between my own work and the loneliness and overwhelming vulnerability of Ray's characters, the grim, desperate tone of the film, as well as the sharp, humorous dialogue," Brack said.

"The bold visual stylization pushes the Western form into melodrama, or one might say that it brings out the melodrama lurking inside the western form," Land added. "It's a unique film, particularly in the context of a genre that usually trades on laconicism, or masculine terseness."

Shack at Signal Camp is located at 923 East Shore Drive. Extra parking is located across the street in the Visitor's Center. A reception for the artist will start at 6:00 p.m., and a screening of Johnny Guitar will follow at 9 p.m. Visitors are welcome to bring beverages. The screening will be outside by the fireside, weather permitting, otherwise it will be shown in the Shack (free admittance). Following the reception Brack's exhibition will be open for viewing through Sunday, May 30th by appointment.

- Danielle Winterton, The Ithaca Post


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