"Starfield" by Los Angeles artists Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French is among the "Circumspect" works on view at E6 Gallery. - SF Chronicle
This new Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French photography exhibit in San Francisco at the E6 Gallery is said to be “Lewis Carroll … inspired” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The exhibit, called Circumspect, was also described by Photograph magazine as “Fellini’s take on Lewis Carroll.” And Charbonneau says, ”Our vision of the solar system and the universe based on a very simple idea: How would you view it as a child or see it in a tangible form that you can interact with?” The art looks lovely, even if the relation to Carroll is merely high-concept. (Could any art featuring girls in wondrous lands be considered in some way related to Carroll?)
Circumspect runs through September 14, 2011: 12-6pm Wed.-Sat.; 12-5 pm Sunday; at E6 Gallery, 1632 Market Street, San Francisco, California.
Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French: Circumspect, at E6 Gallery, San Francisco
Any 6-year-old girl obsessed with Disney Princess merchandise will tell you that Alice was not one of the princesses (‘princi‘?). However, it turns out a real princess seems to have been interested in Alice. At the center of the media spotlight right now is Prince William’s royal fiancée Kate Middleton, to be wed in a few short weeks, and guess what? She did her thesis on Lewis Carroll. The Daily Kate, a blog about a breadth and depth of topics as long as that topic is related to Kate Middleton, posted in June 2009 “Kate’s Lewis Carroll Dissertation Revealed.”
Posters on the internet have been circulating links to the title of Kate Middleton’s university dissertation in recent days. The topic of Kate Middleton’s project should shock no one who knows of her interest in art history and photography: it was a study of the photographic representations of childhood created by Lewis Carroll, author of the famous Alice in Wonderland books.
The website of the School of Art History at the University of St. Andrews lists an honors dissertation by Catherine Middleton, titled “‘Angels from Heaven’: Lewis Carroll’s Photographic Interpretation of Childhood.” Kate completed the paper as a part of her master’s program in art history at the university.
The dissertation topic fits well with what we’ve learned about Kate’s interest in photography over the years. Her work with her parents’ Party Pieces company includes photographing stock for the company’s catalogue and website. She also helped to host a photography exhibition of Alastair Morrison’s work to benefit UNICEF while still living in London; both Prince William and Laura Lopes, daughter of The Duchess of Cornwall, were attendees at that function.
Kate’s interest in art and photography, I hope, will bode well for her future patronage of and work with the heritage of British arts should she and William marry.
I don’t believe the text of the dissertation is out in public, which is well and good. (It’s listed on the St. Andrew’s website here.) Her thesis topic has also been mentioned recently in a Newsweek and Daily Beast article called “Citizen Kate,” if you want to read more about her. If you’re apathetic to tabloid subjects, this may seem more or less irrelevant to anything, but it is nice that the likely future Queen has good taste.
Simon Winchester, author of the excellent book The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, is back with a book about Lewis Carroll and the Liddell family called The Alice Behind Wonderland. The new book uses Carroll’s famous 1958 photograph of Alice as a beggar-girl as a launching point for the discussion. Former director of New York’s Morgan Museum and Library, Charles E. Piece, Jr., reviewed it in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago:
To my surprise, Mr. Winchester does not appear much interested in the influence that Alice Liddell might have had on Dodgson’s creation of the heroine of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and, six years later, “Through the Looking-Glass.” He simply relates the well-known story of how Dodgson took the Liddell girls on a picnic on July 4, 1862, during which he told them the tale of a little girl who had fallen down a rabbit hole. Alice, captivated by the tale, made Dodgson promise to write the story down and give it to her as a gift. In November 1864, he fulfilled that promise.
Mr. Winchester instead focuses on the odd estrangement between the Liddell family and Dodgson in the late 1860s, a breach that has remained largely unexplained. The most dramatic fact is that Dodgson and Liddell never saw each other again after he took the 18-year-old’s photograph in 1870.
The rest of that review is here. Simon Winchester’s The Alice Behind Wonderland was released March 17th with a hardcover price of $16.95.
Who are you?
Dr Michael Pritchard, a regular contributor to the British Photographic History Blog, has alerted us to his cautionary tale about the uncertain world of eBay bidding. The above daguerreotype, which if you can’t read it is captioned “Charles L. Dodgson Christ Church 1858,” recently sold on eBay for £3,300, about $5,300. The image, if you can’t see it either, is clearly not of Dodgson, in fact the sitter looks more like a cross between Benjamin Disraeli and the Mock Turtle. The suspicious back story to the sale and the insights of the photographic experts all make interesting reading here.
This is a pretty stylish “Lomography Diana F+ Mini Wonderland Edition Camera” exclusive to Urban Outfitters. Who knew anyone was still making classy 35mm cameras? Perfect for the complete Carrollian interested in both Alice merch and photographing their child-friends.
The Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, PA is currently offering a two-for-one deal on Wonderland-inspired photography exhibits. (Actually, both exhibitions are free and open to the public, which makes it an even better deal.)
These Strange Adventures: The Art of Maggie Taylor
May 14 – August 21, 2010. Admission Free.
Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh
Maggie Taylor is an artist of the digital imaging process. The exhibition features 40 of her photo montages created from 2003 to 2009, including 23 works from the project “Almost Alice: New Illustrations of Wonderland.” The illustrations were united with the text in 2008 in the now hard-to-find Modernbook Editions edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. You can see more of the illustrations on this website.
The great puzzle, 2006, © Maggie Taylor
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Photographs by Abelardo Morell
May 7 – June 25, 2010 (Reception June 4). Admission Free.
707 Penn & 709 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
Abelardo Morell, like Maggie Taylor, sculpts digital images but the results are strikingly different. This exhibition features fifteen images which were created by combining cutouts of Tenniel’s illustrations with Morell’s own photographs. The exhibition has been organized by the Silver Eye Center for Photography as part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Photographs by Abelardo Morell
People of Pittsburgh, have you seen these exhibitions? What did you think of them?
Is it the surreal and episodic nature of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that inspires so many collage-style artistic responses, or is it just what good twenty-first century artists do? Handmade “vintage” jewelry, steampunk fashion, photo collage: it’s all very po-mo, isn’t it? However, as the following demonstrates, the results can be pretty cool.
"A Mad Tea Party" by Kenneth Rougeau
Kenneth Rougeau has created eighteen illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (enough for a new edition!) using fragments of previous illustrations, vintage photographs and other assorted photo stock. The resulting digital collages can be viewed on his Flickr photostream or purchased from Etsy.com, where he sells under the vendor name Synchronicity 313. Though fragments of each creation are familiar, the overall effect is new and fun to explore.
"Steampunk Alice in Wonderland Plays Croquet" by Ramona Szczerba
Ramona Szczerba’s Alice is more muted but no less effective: “Hand painted, hand cut and hand assembled with vintage images on a stretched canvas, it is embellished with Thai lace paper, ivory crocheted trim, brass rivets and a single brass rose on Alice’s hat.” It’s the essence of steampunk. The collage is for sale on Etsy.com where Ramona, previously featured on this blog, sells under the name of her childhood imaginary friend Winona Cookie.
Alice in Wonderland Charm Bracelet by Janine Byrom
Janine Byrom of Cherished Trinkets, makes sweet fairytale pieces out of brass and bows and, in all probability, sugar and spice. She sells from her home in Manchester, England, but has a flat rate worldwide shipping fee. Her “Alice in Wonderland Collection” contains necklaces, charm bracelets and greetings cards, all for the little girl who loves pink, however old she is.
Of course, post-modernity has its ugly babies too. How about a Disney 2010 Alice in Wonderland-theme Yahtzee dice cup? It’s certainly contemporary. We should all feel very proud of our century. Keep up the good work!
Usaopoly Alice in Wonderland Yahtzee
Tickets for next Wednesday evening’s Alice celebrations at the British Library are now sold out. Congratulations to our London-dwelling friends who managed to secure one. They will be enjoying readings by members of Tim Burton’s cast, conversations with the producer and co-producer of the movie, “an appreciation of Alice” by Will Self, and a viewing of a Cecil Hepworth’s 1903 “Alice In Wonderland” with live piano accompaniment. I wonder if there are ever scalpers outside British Library events? Bonus points and a special mention on this blog to anyone who procures last minute admission through irregular means.
For those who fail to locate either a scalper or an untended fire escape, there is still the opportunity to view a special exhibition of “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground” and related pieces from the Library’s collection during regular library opening hours.
Furthermore, tickets are still available for an illustrated talk on March 6 entitled “Lewis Carroll and Photography: Exposing the Truth
” in which Carroll scholar Edward Wakeling “examines the impressive reality of Carroll’s photography, including his studies of children, and tackles the myths surrounding his work.” Book now to avoid disappointment!
“Lewis Carroll and Photography: Exposing the Truth”
Saturday, March 6, 2010, 14:30 – 16:00
Conference Centre, The British Library
96 Euston Road, London, UK
£6 / £4 concessions
Tonight is the world premier of Exposure Time by Kim Merrill at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, New Jersey. Is this the first time a work of drama has centered on Charles Dodgson the photographer? Merrill’s play won the 2009 Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award. Here is some of the blurb from the press release, “Alice Through the Camera Lens”:
While Johnny Depp portrays the Mad Hatter on movie screens around the world this winter, Lewis Carroll, the conflicted creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, will be on stage at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, fighting passionately to be known not as a
children’s author but as Charles Dodgson, the greatest portrait photographer in the British Empire. Standing in his way is the larger-than-life and now tragically forgotten Julia Margaret Cameron, who was the Annie Leibovitz of her day and a constant thorn in Dodgson’s side. The real Alice will be there as well, trying to sort out her complex relationship with Dodgson, along with Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the Victorian Idol of a society that worshiped its poets like rock stars. The world premiere of Exposure Time runs from February 11 through March 21, with an Opening Night performance and High Tea on Saturday, February 13.
A magical journey into the literary heart of Victorian England, Exposure Time is a perfect play for young teens and above. Schools are invited to contact NJ Rep to discuss booking special discounted matinee performances that include lesson plans and post-show discussions with the actors.
Discounted previews are Thursday and Friday, February 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Regular performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m., with selected Sundays performances at 7 p.m. as well as Thursday and Friday matinees by prior arrangement for students and other groups. Tickets are $40; $35 for previews; $60, opening night; $36 for seniors and students (except opening night); with discounts for groups of ten or more.
There is a review and interview with Ms. Merrill in the Red Bank Orbit here. Tickets can be purchased online here.
Artist Ramona Szczerba is selling this stylish collage inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on Etsy.com, the online store for handmade craft. This 1 of 1 is still available for $145.
Well, you didn’t think Alice WALKED all over Wonderland did you? That place is HUGE, and Alice is way too clever for that. Besides, those maryjanes pinch after a while.
No, Alice has wisely fashioned her favorite wicker chaise into a fabulous Wonderland Cruiser and can be seen motoring about, accompanied by the March Hare (who has also fashioned a means of transport), the White Rabbit, and the hookah-smoking caterpillar (she felt giving him a ride was the least she could do after pressing his mushroom into service as a parasol). With the Dormouse emerging (with a yawn) from her teapot and her small bottle of elixir following on an endtable sidecar, Alice is ready for whatever Wonderland might throw at her next.
This 5″ x 7″ original collage features a vintage image of Alexandra “Xie” Kitchin (one of Lewis Carroll’s favorite child models) in true steampunk style and has been hand-printed, hand cut and hand assembled on a stretched hand painted gallery canvas. It features brown mulberry paper, German Dresden trim and is accented by antiqued pressed brass corners.
Ms. Szczerba and Mark Burstein were e-mailing back and forth this week about the photograph she used for the collage, which he wrote is “not the face of Alice Liddell; it is a photo of another of Carroll’s favorite young models, Alexandra ‘Xie’ Kitchin, taken 14 May 1873.” Ms. Szczerba also directed us to her Flikr
site, starting here
, where she has some more original illustrations for AAIW