Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Video: The World Of The Willing

Img_4983Tonight PopCult brings you the first art show clip that we’ve done in years. Michael McKowen has an amazing installation opening Monday evening at the Della Brown Taylor Art Gallery at West Virginia State University, in the Davis Fine Arts Building. The show runs through September 18.

The World of the Willing is a multi-media exhibition, featuring paintings, assemblage, sculpture, films, illustrations and designs.

These various artistic mediums are assembled to provide the viewer with the opportunity to explore a world that is both foreign and familiar.

Img_4949This is really engrossing stuff. McKowen has created a surreal narrative that’s still being assembled, combining film with found art, repositioned materials, filmed elements, and the stars of the show, a series of intricately-crafted little boxes that light up when you push a button so that you can look inside and experience bizarre and surreal new worlds.

McKowen creates all this using talents honed during his years designing sets, costumes, and props for a variety of stage productions.

He’s worked on everything from experimental theatre to major Broadway productions.  Much of his work has been repurposed or salvaged from prior projects.

Img_4997There’s such a variety of familiar objects and textures repositioned in a totally new context that the viewer’s familiarity is not immediately obvious to them. All of the work in The World of the Willing was created in service to his ongoing series of films, which he plans to eventually collect as a feature-length DVD.

There will be a reception Monday evening at 6 PM where you can meet the artist and experience this amazing universe of colliding surreal worlds that he’s created.  We were mightily impressed and are proud to revive the 240 Second Art Show to showcase The World of The Willing.  It’s part sideshow attraction, part recycled art, part experimental film, and all amazingly and intensely creative. Let’s go to the exhibition’s notes for a more detailed description:

The theme of transformation is experienced through out the exhibition, as damaged and discarded items become pieces that entertain and stimulate the mind and imagination in new ways. The characters within the films are transformed by their physical and emotional interactions with the items that are on display. The different artistic mediums within the exhibit interact with one another to expand the identity of each individual item and create relationships, ideas, and a mythology shared by all the pieces. The exhibit allows the viewer to be a traveler in a world where there are no tour guides or road maps. It is the exploration of the human desire to physically interact with something tactile and create change within themselves and the world they live in.

Michael McKowen Bio Michael is a freelance designer and artisan for theater, film and events across the country. He earned his MFA in scenic and costume design from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and his MFA in film and television from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. Michael has additional training in painting and illustration from Parson’s School of Design and The School of Visual Arts(NYC). His work has been seen at the Goodspeed Opera, PBS, The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor (CA), The Eclipse Theater Company, The Texas Shakespeare Festival, The Dallas Shakespeare Festival, The Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater, The Sierra Repertory Theater and numerous Independent and corporate films, music videos and commercials. Michael was the video designer for the 2014 Contemporary American Theater Festival production of Uncanny Valley in Shepherdstown, WV as well as the Off-­Broadway production. As a milliner, he worked on the Broadway productions of Wicked, The Producers, Spamalot and The Boy from Oz. His artwork has been seen in both group and solo exhibitions and his films have been screened in multiple festivals including Vision Fest at the Tribeca Theater in NYC, and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Gallery Crawl.

In addition to our video above, we’re happy to bring you a few photos of the exhibition. This is a really cool experience, and you’ll want to make sure to check it out in person. Our video and photos only give you a hint of the immersive experience. The opening reception is Monday night, and it’s not to be missed by any fan of the surreal.











Our video incorporates video shot by Melanie Larch with photography by yours truly and uses music composed by Myles Byrne-Dunhill. His work, “Elements” is the soundtrack for The World of the Willing.

1 Comment

  1. Richard Wolfe

    This is very cool, beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. RFC amazes!

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