Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Walt Disney Family Museum Takes you 'Down the Rabbit Hole' With Camille Rose Garcia and Mary Blair

Camille Rose Garcia
"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?" - Alice, Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Starting today, The Walt Disney Family Museum presents a charming--and slightly dark--bit of nonsense as it opens a new exhibit, Camille Rose Garcia: Down the Rabbit Hole. The exhibit features several dozen paintings by the well-known "lowbrow" artist, who reinterprets the world of Alice in Wonderland in her unique Goth-tinged style. Garcia's paintings from this exhibit first appeared in a 2010 reprint of Lewis Carroll's classic children's tale, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, replacing the traditional illustrations by John Tenniel. The result was a Wonderland that visually was more harried, emotional, disorienting...and quite compelling.

Providing an ideal counterpoint to Garcia's work, the exhibit also includes a selection of Alice in Wonderland concept art by Mary Blair, Disney's legendary artist and color stylist. Though their respective takes on Alice are quite distinct and separated by more than 50 years, Blair and Garcia are still kindreds in their vivid use of color and their abilities to challenge perspective.

I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Garcia about her work--and that's all I'm going to tell you for now. You can hear our conversation in the next edition of The Mouse Castle Lounge podcast, which will be out this weekend. Suffice it to say, Ms. Garcia scored points with me for having grown up in Orange County, a stone's throw from Disneyland, where she spent a good portion of her childhood. That she embraced the works of William Burroughs and Philip K. Dick as she grew older, darkening her pop culture sensibilities, only made her more interesting.

In Camille Rose Garcia's Wonderland, Alice is a bit of a hot mess.

Garcia's trip down the rabbit hose is very distressing.

Blair's rabbit hole is much more orderly, but just as vivid.

Garcia's mad tea party is disorderly, even menacing.

Blair's tea party is just silly, but the White Rabbit is none too comfortable with it.

Camille Rose Garcia: Down the Rabbit Hole will run through November 3, 2013 in the Walt Disney Family Museum's lower level theater gallery. For more information, visit www.waltdisney.org.

For more about Camille Rose Garcia, visit www.camillerosegarcia.com or listen to my interview with her at www.themousecastle.com/2013/05/mcl-down-rabbit-hole-with-camille-rose.html.

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