I had known Lilli Carré through comics before I caught her show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago where I learned she is also professional illustrator who works in different media including animation and sculpture.
Heads or Tails is probably my favourite work by her. It’s an anthology featuring a collection of short comics she wrote and drew over the span of five years. As such, the comics are drawn in a number of variations on her visual style. All of the stories are laconic and somewhat surreal, leaving the emphasis on her delicate, spare and abstracted compositions, most of which employ an evocative use of colour.
As a side note, the strength of this abstract style is probably why I didn’t find her longer form narrative comic, The Lagoon, nearly as engaging. With a longer story, the poetic simplicity, narrative ambiguity and striking visual strength of her style gets bogged down in uninteresting dialogue or narrative dead ends. There were times I felt that The Lagoon could have been paired down for a stronger impact.
Carré’s style translates very well into her silent, experimental animated films which were screened in loops at the MCA. Their repetitive nature and play with shapes take the stylization we find in her comics into the realms of complete abstraction. The framed pieces and sculptures in the MCA exhibit similarly explore the open and fluid spaciousness between movements in time that are so emphasized in her borderless comics.
I picked up a copy of Heads or Tails from the public library and read The Lagoon at the MCA. The exhibit will run until April 15, 2014.