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March 18: Amy Cutler with Jan Švankmajer's distressingly beautiful take on Alice in Wonderland

A surreal art experience at the IMA with Amy Cutler and a viewing of the visually stunning film "Alice"

When: Amy Cutler's works will be displayed from March 10 to June 4; "Alice" will be shown March 18 at 2:00 PM

Where: Indianapolis Museum of Art -- Amy Cutler exhibit in McCormack Forefront Gallery; "Alice" shown in the DeBoest Lecture Hall

Amy Cutler's work is equal parts strange and lovely. Inspired by random stories and images from mass media, reality shows, book illustrations, folktales and personal experiences, she creates exquisitely detailed, enigmatic paintings that obsessively illustrate scenes of women, animals and hybrid beings engaged in magical, dreamlike activities. Her works, which include drawing, gouache on paper and paint on wood panels, vary in size and incorporate references that have been described as “snippets of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Hieronymus Bosch and Masterpiece Theatre plotlines.” Some find a deeper significance to her pieces: "Amy Cutler has rapidly achieved an international reputation for politically and psychologically charged narrative paintings and drawings. Exquisitely rendered on paper, or wood panels, Cutler's works are an enigmatic compilation of her dreams, fantasies and everyday observations inflected by a wide variety of sources ranging from Indian miniature painting and medieval European history to the latest shoe styles or the evening news."

Cutler identifies "Alice" (Něco z Alenky), Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer's disturbing semi-animated version of "Alice in Wonderland," as an inspiration for her work. Švankmajer mixes stop-motion animation and live action to create a dreamy, sinister journey with Alice, a stuffed rabbit come to life, a caterpillar sock puppet with dentures, and specimens from a natural history museum thrown in. It contains some of the most vivid and disturbing scenes I can recall ... and that was on a small telly in London, not on a big screen. "Alice" has had a strong impact on horror filmmakers and fans, on Tim Burton, and on rock music videos. Like most of the art and literature produced in Czechoslovakia while there still was a Czechoslovakia, "Alice" has a political subtext of violence and power. I strongly recommend it, but don't take little kids.

Amy Cutler's exhibit is free with IMA admission, as is "Alice"

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