Volume one of a proposed series of compilations, this is a survey of the work of artists who lie mostly beyond the pale of the gallery world, presented largely in the form of interviews. Sargeant and his contributors make a valiant effort to inject some adrenalin into the quavering carcass of “art” before it completely expires. They do an astounding job of allowing these colorful and focused (if through their own unique prisms) personalities to tell their own stories, all fastidiously footnoted with entertaining explanatory texts in the margins. In most cases, the fiercely individualistic visions of these artists must at this point in history reside by necessity far below the radar of the art flacks and curators, who have just begun to fawn over such stale offerings as brilliant-Black Flag-cartoonist-turned-tedious-high-art-poseur Raymond Pettibon.
Girls (of the Lewis Carroll not the Baywatch variety), dolls, sex and their relationships to each other form an important libidinous undercurrent linking some of the genuinely intriguing artists covered in Suture, from Victorian-absorbed cartoonist/banjo player/cult figure Dame Darcy of Roller Derby and Meat Cake fame to Trevor Brown, who is perhaps best known as graphic designer for the industrial noise-terror unit Whitehouse. Brown relocated to Tokyo and has been churning out a series of highly technically accomplished airbrushed Japanese girls, dolls and war toys in perversely ominous juxtapositions. The remarkable life and career of French collage artist/photographer Romain Slocombe is explored at length; his charm and dedication bring a transcendent grace to his erotic obsession with the collision of Japanese girls and auto accidents, yielding some of the most startling photographic images of our time.
While Suture stumbles out of the opening gate with an extended reminiscence with evergreen bad-girl Lydia Lunch concerning her portrait photography, by the finish line it has explored some truly “world-class” fringe culture production as well as presented some criminally neglected creative territory. Particularly inspiring is the heroic story behind the Australian cold-sweat maximum-security prison flick Ghosts of the Civil Dead, which was directed by John Hillcoat from a script he wrote with Nick Cave (who also appears in the film). Other highlights of Suture include a discussion with painter Joe Coleman about “Devil Anse” Hatfield, leader of the warring Appalachian clan, and Romain Slocombe interviewing the king of manga psych-out Suehiro Maruo (yes, he seems to have a thing for Japanese schoolgirls in uncomfortable situations too). SS
Paperback: 192 pages