Preview: Ryan Heshka’s “Mean Girls Club” at Wieden + Kennedy Gallery

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Ryan Heshka’s Mean Girls aren’t just a stuck-up clique of catty ladies. His upcoming show, “Mean Girls Club” at Wieden + Kennedy Gallery in Portland, chronicles the felonious exploits of a group of femme fatales with diabolical schemes and improbable hourglass figures. A departure from how he usually presents his work, “Mean Girls Club” will merge Heshka’s years of experience in animation, design and fine art. Though he is primarily known as a painter, this show is focused on a multi-media installation: an immersive recreation of the Mean Girls’ clubhouse that will feature peepshow-like openings that reveal 8mm stop-motion animations, faux-human taxidermy sculptures, sound elements and typographical and silk-screened visuals.

The installation will be accompanied by a risograph comic book that will detail the backstory of the Mean Girls, adding a strong narrative element to the multi-sensory experience of the clubhouse. Heshka’s art evokes pulp mystery novel covers and film noir. In his painted work, he seamlessly mixes deliberate camp with technical mastery. His style recalls an outdated form of sci-fi, using the familiarity of kitsch to draw in and disorient viewers with his surreal scenes. “Mean Girls Club” will translate his vision into the tactile and sonic realms, inviting viewers to observe barbaric atrocities from the Mean Girls’ point of view and question where one stands in the age-old battle of good versus evil.

Ryan Heshka’s “Mean Girls Club” opens at Wieden + Kennedy Gallery in Portland on July 3 and will be on view through July 30.

Sketch of the “Mean Girls Club” clubhouse installation.

One of the stop-motion animation sets from the 8mm films that will be playing inside the installation.

The stop-motion animations are heavily dose with campy horror.

Another glimpse at the stop-motion animation sets.

Cover of the Mean Girls Club comic book.

A page from the Mean Girls Club comic book.

A page from the Mean Girls Club comic book.

A page from the Mean Girls Club comic book.

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