Lecture 2: Introduction to
SURREALISM IN CARTOONS AND THE COMICS
This is the second in a series given to the Senior
University Georgetown in the Fall of 2014.
Surrealism is a
movement in art especially in the second through the fifth
decade of the 20th century, with resonances also in music and
drama and the other arts. It seeks to illustrate the
depth-psychological dimension of mind, and is vaguely related to
Freudian psychoanalysis and Jungian analytic psychology---but
artists then play freely, hardly sticking to any theory. It
recognizes we can be wacky, sometimes in not-so-funny forms of
mental illness, but also in funny twists and turns of the
actually normal---but imaginatively creative---mind.
Some noted surrealist painters in the history of art include
Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, and others. At the edge of surrealism
and partly into abstract art are the playful images of Wassily
Kandinski, Paul Klee, etc.
Beyond the fine arts, note that cartoons, the Sunday comic
strips, and comic books---bridging now into the form called
"graphic fiction," has a certain small percentage of artists who
are clearly surrealistic. I'll be commenting on Jim Woodring,
Windsor McKay, Abner Dean, and others. The point is to recognize
that these less-"fine" art forms are often funny, well-crafted,
and surprisingly insightful. Some of the cartoonists are quite
good at drawing, and add their own style in very aesthetic ways.
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