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LA is one of the very best places to observe extreme Halloween. Dressing as alternative identities, in costumes and make-up, this is daily stuff in LA. Halloween just accentuates and legitimizes it.

There is one artist in particular who observes such rituals on the other 364 days of the year: Marnie Weber. Her exhibition at Gavlak includes monsters of many shapes and sizes but all of her own invention. For years, she has made her own masks and designed elaborate props for her films and installations. Even when she starts with pieces from Hollywood prop shops or costumiers, they undergo wild reinvention.

Marnie Weber "Chapel of the Moon" at GAVLAK Los Angeles
Photo courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK Los Angeles
Photo by Jeff McLane

Her show at Gavlak is based on her uncanny feature film The Day of Forevermore, which you can see at the gallery, along with the works it inspired. Her show, Chapel of the Moon, is on view through November 5.

The Day of Forevermore (TRAILER) from Marnie Weber on Vimeo.

You enter a darkened gallery in which a grove of golden trees twinkle with colored leaves made of stained glass shards. One of the more charming characters from her film, a big and bemused pig wearing ecclesiastical robes of red velvet, sits in front of a filmic waterfall. He seems concerned here, as he is in the film, with the welfare of the young girl trying to escape her well-meaning mother, who is a witch.

Marnie Weber, “The Satyr's Song,” 2016
Collage on panel
Photo courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK Los Angeles
Photo by LeeAnn Nickel

Psycho-mystical themes are present but hardly doctrinal. Large scale collages resemble stained-glass windows. A sculpture of the devil himself has his bare rump protruding from a wall, his pointy tail erect. A totem pole of monster heads completes the scene.

Marnie Weber, “Monster Totem,” 2016
Halloween masks, glass eyes, expanding foam, resin, magi-sculpt, fake fruit coated in resin,
polyurethane horns, acrylic paint, metal base, wooden pole
Photo courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK Los Angeles
Photo by Jeff McLane

Weber was a member of the 1980s LA punk band The Party Boys. Since, she has formed The Spirit Girls and other bands and wrote and played the music for her film.

Marnie Weber, “Devil's Ass,” 2012
Prosthetic rear end, wood, expanding foam, resin, acrylic paint, magi-sculpt, polyurethane tale
Photo courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK Los Angeles
Photo by Jeff McLane

Performance in all its manifestations drives the appearance and substance of her art. She explores the roles of women through their historical representation in fairy tales, legends and myths. In the film, for instance, she plays the mother witch while her own daughter Colette plays the daughter, who determinedly tries to escape the destiny of taking over her mother’s role and her power. Weber’s friends, Emi Fontana, Renee Petropoulis among them, appear in the film as sister witches. I think Weber succeeds where others fail in this territory by dint of the extremely personal and handcrafted aspects of her work but also its unpredictable idiosyncrasy. Weber’s sensibility draws from well-known sources but somehow it is percolated and poured out as something entirely her own.

Marnie Weber, “The Knowing Moon,” 2016
Collage on archival pigment print
Photo courtesy of the artist and GAVLAK Los Angeles
Photo by LeeAnn Nickel

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