Part of the “Dr. Suess, A Tribute” exhibit at Blackbird Studios is shown at 1551 S. Commerce St. in Las Vegas on Monday, Dec. 16. The show runs through January.
For many of us, logging our annual 26 minutes of face-time with the furrowed green visage of the Grinch is a holiday tradition. This Christmas season Blackbird Studios invites you to spend a little more time with your grumpy green favorite and other beloved Seussical characters populating a tribute show to all things Dr. Seuss.
Curatorial touches by Gina Quaranto, Blackbird studio gallery director, set the mood as you enter, starting with red chairs facing the infamous window looking out on a rainy day from Cat in the Hat. Ready and waiting to facilitate mischief, cutouts of “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” by Jeff Lewis are positioned nearby along with the ever-dapper Cat in the Hat himself busily juggling fishbowl, umbrella, boxes and more.
Flanking the rainy window, the friendly goggling eyes of large papier-mâché renditions of marine life from One Fish Two Fish by local artist Dan45 dangle from the ceiling.
Working towards a Seuss Christmas theme, towards the back of the gallery a snowy mountain mural by Peter Mengert and foam crusted cottages by Quaranto and Lisa Dittrich make for a somewhat ramshackle town of Whoville surrounding a Christmas tree with garlands, ornaments and gewgaws strung all about the space.
Back in the front, a chair positioned next to an over-large red-white striped hat, by Justin Lepper, invites story time with a whimsicaimosaic portrait of Dr. Seuss framed in yellow curls, and listening over the reader’s shoulder by Leizl Siojo. Other story time moments are sprinkled throughout the exhibit with short stories by Michael Chambers, using a 50-word limit, honoring the tradition started by Seuss with Green Eggs and Ham.
The exhibit served up ample helpings of Green Eggs and Ham. S.C. Jones plated the green pork in a traditional still-life style while Dustin Wax provided miniature “Flea Eggs and Ham.” The dubious unnamed character of the story would understandably hesitate before digging into the frightening purple veined green haunch by Heather Zepeda. A fanged serpent bursts out of the meat core, spitting venom upon the gelatinous eggs each with an eyeball in the green yolk.
Another humorously macabre moment is found with heads of Seuss creatures, such as “Meesolopes” and “WhoDeer,” mounted on the wall hunting trophy style by Dittrich.
There were numerous takes on the tender-hearted elephant, Horton, starting with a Dali-esque drippy gray abstraction, bits of red and white scarves and tiny red lips tucked into the fur, by Kim Johnson titled “When Kindness Listens.” Glowing in green and sienna encaustics, Dayla Lawson depicts the winged elephant-bird from Horton Hatches the Egg.
Riffing on Horton’s questioned sanity, Robert Uribe offers a hilarious depiction of Horton wrapped in straightjacket desperate for the voices of the tiny pink clover to return.
“Sneetches” abound with a lonely Sneetch graced with a large set of horns wandering into an abstract painting by Ryan Byers. Instead of stars on their bellies, Gia Lacuaniello’s small Sneetch illustrations are updated with text messages “STFU” and “LMAO.”
Seuss characters of Grinch, Sam-I-Am and others cross the street Abbey Road style in another work by Lewis while a Lorax, by Lepper, is back up on his tree-stump.
With the entire range of Seuss characters found in both familiar and new places a work by Juliet Marx seems to sum up the show best with the splayed orange frond of Seuss palm tree popping out from the center of nebula in outer-space; the green and blue marble of the Earth cupped in the orange top reminding us of the sizeable position Dr. Seuss has earned within the galaxy of our imaginations.
Blackbird Studios, 1551 S. Commerce St., www.blackbirdstudioslv.com. Through January.