About the Work
Division of the Animals, 2011
11 x 17 inches
Shadowgram Archival digital print
Geoffrey Cormier worked for the Jim Henson Company on two Muppet movies. There, he learned the techniques of puppetry and puppet construction. This print is the result of a collaboration between Cormier and Michelle Van Parys, professor of photography at the College of Charleston. Borrowing from the tradition of photograms made famous by Man Ray with his Ray-O-Grams, the two artists worked to create an image that expressed the spirit of Cormier’s puppets made of sweetgrass. During a six-month investigation, they invented the genre of Shadowgram. Although technically not a shadow, and, in fact, the reverse, the Shadowgram manages to capture the dynamic contrasts of shadow puppetry.
OTHER PATRON PRINTS
Geoffrey Cormier – James Island, SC with Michelle Van Parys, Charleston SC
The first example of silhouette art can be found in the form of a hand as a cave painting in Chauvet, France dating to 33,000 BCE. There are mentions of shadow puppet techniques in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. Literally translated as “shadow”, Wayang is the general reference to traditional Indonesian theater dating back to at least 930AD. Wayang Kulit is the art of flat, intricate shadow puppets cut from leather. Wayang Klitik is the art of similar shadow puppets carved from wood. Wayang Suket, or, sometimes called Wayang Rumput is the art of creating shadow puppets from woven grass. This traditional art form is considered more of a folk art of rural Java practiced by boys that would tend buffalo or goats in the fields.
Geoffrey Cormier was commissioned by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art to create an evening of shadow puppet theater in 2006 with live music commissioned by the New Music Collective—including a full gamelan orchestra. Michelle Van Parys teaches photography at the College of Charleston. Her most recent book, The Way Out West, was published by The Center for American Places and is distributed by the University of Chicago Press.
ABOUT THE PATRON PRINT PROGRAM:
Each year we offer a new set of limited edition prints available exclusively to our members at the Postmodernist level and up. Artists who have been a part of the Halsey Institute’s programming have specially created these prints for us. Beginning at the POSTMODERNIST level ($350), you may choose from one of the prints we have available. Many of the prints are featured on the walls of our hall of Patron Prints located on the first floor of The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, just down the hall of the Halsey Institute. Gradually, you can build your art collection while supporting adventurous contemporary art in Charleston! For more information, please contact Tatjana Beylotte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-953-5652.