Mound · Allison Schulnik

Allison Schulnik’s film, Mound, is a vast celebration of the moving painting. It is a macabre wandering with subjects choreographed in emotive gesture and movement. The line is blurred between the material elements of art-making and the physicality of ballet and theater.

Over one hundred lumpy figures and creatures molded from clay, fabric and wood morph continuously into new identities in Allison Schulnik's stop-action video, Mound. Schulnik breathes life into a number of the misfit characters present in her oil paintings in this short animation choreographed to Scott Walker's melancholy 1969 ballad "It's Raining Today" with cinematography by Helder K. Sun. This successful attempt to create, in Schulnik's words, a "moving painting" is a natural transition for the artist due to the physical nature of her painting style, in which thick pigment mutates into three-dimensional figures before the viewer's eyes. Schulnik's dance and music background are also evident in Mound, especially toward the end of the piece when a small troupe of long-haired, emaciated dancers in cloth dresses moves with elegance and ease, synchronized to the brooding musical score. The video rewards repeated viewing, as the non-stop movement and mutation of the figures requires careful attention to appreciate fully. Certain forms bulge and collapse while others regenerate with swirling color and texture into altogether new creatures of the imagination. Schulnik created and shot every ghoulish figure and macabre scene in Mound over the course of eight months to produce a fairy tale that she says exists somewhere between tragedy and farce.

— Dr. Allison C. Smith, JCCC Associate Professor and Chair, Art History