A “mind-numbing” collection of grotesque and eerie figures will form a “Dark Carnival,” a Mike Falcigno production at City Lights starting with a reception 5:30-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27. Art isn’t always pretty — and at times it’s downright disturbing. What better time of year to appreciate the latter?
I’ve been amazed by Falcigno’s work for years, and now he’s finally curating a show that reflects his vision, mounting a show that also highlights a baker’s dozen of contemporary artists who work in the same jugular vein.
Falcigno casts a generously wide net: Adam Dougherty (image pictured here), Julia Ambrose, Black Unicorn Studios, Rainer F. Engel, David Grant, Moses Jaen, Vanessa Pastore, Don Seipel, The Shiflett Bros., Jake Waldron and Joe Wilson are represented. The 13 artists come from far and wide, from Connecticut to Colorado to Germany.
Arrive in costume for a chance to win a personalized zombie portrait. If you dare.
Falcigno has been creating 2-D and 3-D art for the better part of two decades. In addition to film special effects work, sculpting figures for the collector market, and teaching art at several area high schools, Falcigno has long been a staunch supporter of fellow artists. Working at City Lights & Co. has allowed Falcigno to finally curate his dream show (…or possibly a nightmare show depending on your sensibilities).
Falcigno enthusiastically explains that “I adore art in so many forms, but there’s something about creature design and bizarre imagery that has always fascinated me more than traditional landscapes. Maybe it’s the high level of creative freedom that comes with surrealist concepts, creating things previously unseen by human eyes…it just really intrigues me.”
“I also grew up with an attraction to the circus, P.T Barnum and his sideshow acts in particular. There are so many incredibly talented artists working in the darker, stranger corners of the art world that I feel are often times under-appreciated. By my estimation, Jack Pierce created an iconic character equally recognizable and important to the Mona Lisa with his beautifully designed Frankenstein monster. The key here is taking what pop culture has embraced with open arms and presenting it on the walls of an art gallery. I do realize this has been done before in various places, but this show gave me a chance to unite a wide selection of super-talented artists under one banner in our own city. Considering Bridgeport is Barnum’s hometown…there were few titles more fitting than “The Dark Carnival!”
“Being able to showcase the works of these 13 artists in one venue is something I’ll always be thankful for, it’s nothing short of an honor for me to be able to show residents such a wide array of art from so many different places,” Falcigno continues. “Their work speaks for itself, but I urge anyone who can make the opening to attend because the exhibiting artists themselves are equally interesting specimens!”
Falcigno’s life-size and smaller scale creature sculpture will be joined by the work of celebrated Texas-based sculpting duo The Shiflett Brothers, along with New York Zombie-art maestro Moses Jaen, Milford fine art sculptor Julia Ambrose, Colorado based sculpting prodigy Adam Dougherty, and the off-kilter character designs of Jake Waldron. Though heavy on sculpture, the exhibit also features a smorgasbord of 2-D work. Vanessa Pastore and Don Seiple offer up a selection of their intensely creepy digital photo-manipulations, German illustrator Rainer Engel presents an entire wall of beautifully rendered illustration with subjects spanning Vincent Price to Nosferatu, and Andy P. (aka. Black Unicorn Studio) threatens to traumatize optic nerves with his bold melding of screen printed color and detailed line art. Rounding out this already large line up is the work of two more Connecticut artists: David Grant offers up several stunning examples of both his sculpture and illustration work and Joe Wilson is sure to turn heads with his highly refined digital paintings.
The show runs until Nov. 30.