Published on November 23rd, 2012 | by Elizabeth Coleman0
Review: Michele Guieu’s “Let’s Fight ‘Til Six and Then Have Dinner”
Summary: Though it lacks connection to the artist's statement, Guieu's multi-media exhibit is beautifully executed.
Michele Guieu explores themes of childhood and its fleeting moments in her latest exhibit, “Let’s Fight ‘Til Six and Then Have Dinner”, currently on display at Kaleid Gallery in San Jose, CA through November 30. The title of the show, a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, calls to mind the idea that everything — no matter how good or bad — passes by, and will come to an end. As Guieu writes in her artist’s statement posted in the gallery, the show opened “just a few days before presidential election day. [The title of the exhibit] puts the urge to argue and the hunger for peace in a (childish) perspective.”
The installation is primarily comprised of mixed media collage drawings mounted on wooden boards, created from the pages of Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Essentially, Guieu’s installation is a response to the complicated world we live in, shown through the lens of Alice, a child. However, it is clear that despite the childish content and drawings, Guieu’s pieces are deliberate and carefully planned.
Other mixed media pieces featured quotes from the stories, including, “What impertinence!” and “Perhaps it doesn’t understand English,” along with Alice in Wonderland‘s familiar illustrations originally done by Sir John Tenniel.
The exhibit also featured a display table filled with Legos, plastic army men, bugs, dinosaurs and other small plastic toys which had been painted black. The addition of the figures paired nicely with the illustrations, adding depth to the installation.
She creatively included a series of short videos, featuring Guieu’s two sons. Played over carefully chosen music, the videos show her sons building structures out of wood pieces, drawing pictures of monsters under the bed and trick-or-treating. One of my favorite pieces about the videos were the boys’ explanation of their own world and creations. All of the elements together evoked my own sentimental feelings and caused me to reminisce about my own childhood.
Also exhibited were short animated films created by Guieu’s 10-year-old son, created in stop motion animation via drawings done on Post-its. I thought it was a nice touch to include works from her son, which further brought the children’s world to life.
All in all, the paintings and video were beautifully executed, but I failed to see a connection to politics or peace as the artist’s statement suggested. However, the charming portrayal of her children and their imagination more than made up for any lack of connection to the artist’s statement.