Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Artist of the Week: Clea Minaker

Feist dropped a new album (Metals) last week and I had been counting down the days until it was unleashed. But this is not a review of said album. Which is beautiful, by the way. I think I need a few more days—nay, weeks—of non-stop listen-age before I will be able to conjure the right words to describe its great complexity. 

No, this post was inspired by my fond remembrance of the two concerts I saw far too long ago in support of her last album (The Reminder) and the amazing shadow puppet light show put on by Clea Minaker at both of them. Employing an old-fashioned overhead projector, Clea used her hands to manipulate paper cuts, mud, and other objects across the glass, casting illustrative vignettes on the bright scrim that stretched behind the musicians as they played.

Clea is a performance artist and puppeteer who lives in Montreal. Her blog
didn’t give me nearly enough of what I was looking for: clear footage of her genius in action. Seeing her work in the flesh (or shadow of the flesh, as it were) was truly breathtaking. Every graceful gesticulation quietly punctuated Feist’s words and followed her inflections perfectly. There is something really moving in a simple gesture writ larger than life across the screen. Like when a kid first realizes that a fist and two fingers can pitch a bunny head on the wall. Eureka! Alas, you and I will have to settle for what I could scrape up on Youtube:


In researching the artist, I discovered there was a documentary called Look at What the Light Did Now that was released last December and is not available on Netflix (of course I already checked) but is available on Amazon (of course I already Wishlisted it). The film covers the making of The Reminder, the concert tour, interviews with Feist and her creative cohorts, and features footage of the amazing Clea Minaker making shadow puppet magic. At least that’s as much as I could garner from the trailer and clip I found on Youtube here:

- Cathleen

[Photos courtesy of the artist’s website.]

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