Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Pye's Theatre of the Absurd

Like sitcoms poking fun at married life directed by David Lynch, the short films (and photographs) of Toronto-based artists Nicholas and Sheila Pye detail the struggles of a nameless couple haunting decaying rooms as they spit fluid on each other, feed ribbons through the walls, set fire to the floor, piss themselves, and plates fall from the sky.
They're fairly young and the work still needs to overcome the anxiety of influence a little- it's still a bit too much like Lynch or Ionesco if they were an attractive, somewhat vain, young couple. But, it's really rare to see work that is so self-assured, not to mention self-contained, coming from artists who are just starting out. It's safe to say that the weird little world they've created will eventually declare its independence from their forebears and grow into a compelling little empire of its own.


Holly said...

Perhaps "anxiety of influence" is the correct technical term for what I always apprehend as "that art-school feeling." I guess it's good to have a name for it. Strangely, my first thought about their influence was Fellini, but I have no overt basis for that; just a gut thing.

Rufus said...

I can see the Fellini too. For some reason, I always associate Fellini with really crazy costumes.

The Anxiety of Influence is a Harold Bloom book, in which he argues that all artists, even the greatest, struggle to overcome their influences as they start out. I think it really is true, and it's definitely made me more comfortable with my own writing.