Set to the resonant baritone and dreamy orchestration of Scott Walker’s “It’s Raining Today,” Allison Schulnik’s uncanny animation Mound features a twisting, stretching, and oozing horde of misfits. This choreographed ballet was a hugely labor-intensive process: featuring more than one hundred hand-sculpted and hand-sewn puppets, the work took the artist nearly eight months to complete.
As regular consumers of animations with extraordinarily high production values, most viewers disassociate the invisible hand of the animator from her finished production. In this case, however, the absent artist is unmistakably present, made evident again and again by her visible thumbprints. It is difficult to watch Mound unaware that an invisible set of hands gouged out the haunting eye sockets or bent the skeletal fingers of these lumpy clay figures. Mound is infused with the messy materiality of Schulnik’s work as a painter of heavily impastoed canvases and a sculptor of stubbornly imperfect ceramics. Here Schulnik’s various mediums come together in a delightfully creepy and materially sensuous tour de force.
Label from Screen Play: Life in an Animated World, June 20–September 13, 2015