WeathercraftBook | Jim Woodring By Damian Van Denburgh
Dazzles, mystifies and deals out a healthy dose of the creeps.
In Weathercraft, his first foray into graphic-novel territory, Seattle denizen Jim Woodring employs his repertory troupe of ambiguous, liminal characters—Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw, and Pushpaw—to tell the kind of Pilgrim's Progress tale that David Lynch might have conjured up if he were a cartoonist. The bewildering and grotesque imagery one associates with Woodring's work fills each and every page here, but what sets Weathercraft apart from his other output is a deeper, more explicit engagement with an active spiritual search. Familiar religious imagery is appropriated by Woodring and recontextualized into wholly unfamiliar settings. The "veils of reality" are repeatedly torn open to reveal further illusions on the other side. Everything in Woodring's forcefully rendered landscapes that his protagonist Manhog stumbles through is composed of recombinant materials that mutate and transform into other enigmas, suggesting a parable of regeneration and reincarnation. But, this being Jim Woodring's world, don't expect anything as resolute as redemption or salvation, or even a simple feeling of closure. Impermanence, the conundrum of physical senses that guide and ensnare at the same time, the challenge of a rational response to an irrational universe—all this and more await the returning fan or the open-minded acolyte in Woodring's best work yet. And for an artist of his caliber, that's saying something.
|Visions of Frank|