/ by John McGurk

In my role as the gallery director of the Mikhail Zakin gallery in NJ, I recently put together a show titled: Contemporary Puppetry: The Language Inside. It is a wide ranging show with work from artists all over the United States, Canada, and London. The exhibition is intended to highlight a number of various techniques, from traditional shadow and marionette puppets to innovative toy theatres and experimental sculptural forms used by puppeteers today. Each artist brings a unique take on this ancient art. You can check out images and the official press release here: Mikhail Zakin Gallery.

Most of the artists in the exhibition make work in a variety of mediums and directions. Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet are two LA artists that created the sets and characters for Sean Meredith's feature length film Dante's Inferno. You may have seen Birk's work at PPOW in NYC where he is showing again this September. In this hybrid fashion is the team of Miss Pussycat and Quintron, two artists and musicians that hail from New Orleans. Miss Pussycat creates the puppets and the stories while they both write the soundtracks. They have an energetic live performance that is worth seeing if they come to your town.

A group that did a wonderfully engaging live performance for the opening is the Wonderspark Puppets team here in NYC. For the exhibition they have puppets displayed from Davy Crockett in Outer Space, which has made the rounds in some smaller theatres and is how I ran into them. From Boston, the Elephant Tango Ensemble created a shadow piece specifically for the show. They are also musicians, so their piece is displayed with the accompanying score.

There are many other talented and creative artists from far and wide in the show, so if you are in the area, you should stop on by the gallery and take a look. Other artists include: Jason Leinwand, Serra Hirsch, Richard Mansfield, Robin McCahill, MiWha Lee, Jamie Shannon, Leslie Rogers, Laura Strausfeld, Tine Kindermann.

Get more info here: http://www.tasoc.org/galleries