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Local artist presents exhibit at Brave New World

Posted: September 5, 2010 12:00 p.m.
Updated: September 5, 2010 12:00 p.m.

Local artist Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik presents an exhibit of his "fine art mash-up" works like this one at Brave New World Comics in Newhall on Saturday, Sept. 11.

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Local artist Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik figures he's purchased about 500 comics this year from Brave New World Comics in Newhall.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, he's bringing them back-cut up into little pieces as part of his new art exhibition, "You did WHAT to my comics!?!"

Brynjegard-Bialik refers to the show as "a fine art mash-up," as it brings together the traditional art of papercutting with the pervasive lowbrow art of comics and yields a unique artistic vision.

The show, which runs from Sept. 11 through Oct. 9, features works that explore themes including the power of the atom, tricksters and gods, and-most prominently-the Bible.

"I was a big comic book geek as a kid, and I guess I still am," Brynjegard-Bialik says, somehow seeming both embarrassed and proud. "My work is an expression of who I am and what I'm thinking about, and an attempt to explore how we process stories." Especially in the works featuring biblical themes, it's clear that he's on to something.

"We've got these caped superheroes that are almost god-like in their power and influence, and we read and revisit and revere them," he says. "I enjoy chasing down connections between the stories and characters in these comics and the stories we've been telling for thousands of years through religion and other expressions of culture."

Portlyn Polston, owner of Brave New World Comics where the show will be mounted, says, "Isaac's work is almost as interesting as he is. The pieces are truly stunning, and it's extraordinary to see how he has interpreted such common themes through the medium of comics art."

In one piece, "Incredible Tree [of Knowledge of Good and Evil]," Brynjegard-Bialik has cut the infamous tree in the Garden of Eden, from which Adam and Eve sampled forbidden fruit.

"It's about how knowledge can be a two-edged sword," he says. "With knowledge of good comes knowledge of evil. And so I'm exploring that by using cut-up Hulk comics in the piece, because of the gamma bomb explosion that accidentally turned this very intelligent scientist into an impulse-driven, mindless ... well, hulk."

In "Trickster Coyote," a traditional representation of the Native American god Huehuecoyotl is bolstered by the use of cut-up comics featuring Loki, the Norse god of lies and trickery who was a foil for the comic book hero Thor.

"So many cultures have this idea of a god who is both smart and foolish, advocate and nemesis. Bringing Coyote and Loki together illustrates how these same ideas pop up in different places and times."

Brynjegard-Bialik has been cutting paper for 15 years, having discovered the medium while living in Jerusalem; he's been reading comics a lot longer.

Brave New World Comics is the 2008 Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing award winner, naming it among the very best comic book and pop culture stores in the world.

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