Someone recently told us, “Hey, you should look up the work of Marnie Webser. She’s makes some Cindy Sherman stuff.” This had us intrigued and we did a little research and found that, yes, Marnie Weber is a fantastic local artist who–like Cindy Sherman–puts herself in her work in the most curious of ways. She’s kind of like the barnyard, circus clown, haunted version of Sherman which is far more interesting to us. There’s a rich playfulness and performativity to her work that feels uniquely Southern California.
Weber works in a lot of different ways that all interact with each other and are all integral to each other. She makes collages of her characters and themes and she makes sculptures of things she cannot bring out of her collages into the real world (like a dancing bear or a goat with the face of a woman) and she makes costumes and uses performance and video to activate all of her works. Weber does everything to service her vision, which is an abstraction of self through costume and side-show play. You really get an understanding for her work by perusing an installation view of it: seeing her previous Patrick Painter and Rosamund Felson exhibitions illustrate how all of her creations work together in a way that feels like you have snuck into a kindly off freak show.
Diving into the aesthetics and look of her work (apart from the ghoulish, female-as-play-object subtext), there is a lot to love. She only makes bright work that feels playful and pulled from the pages of a Little Golden Book about a fucked up anthropomorphic animal farm. Instead of angelic creatures, you have things that look like the Boogie Men from Laurel & Hardy’s March Of The Wooden Soldiers and Pennywise from It and pre-Shaking The Habitual The Knife populating her world. The results are as beautiful as they are unsettling and they make you want to see more and more and more of what she does.
Weber is a master at so many things because her craft demands her be that way. She couldn’t operate in one of these worlds: she has to do everything. We didn’t quite catch this when we saw her work at last year’s Lost (In L.A.) but, having studied it for a few hours, it all makes sense. We hope we can see an entire Weber’d out gallery soon. You can see more of her work here.