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Walt Disney Family Museum announces Camille Rose Garcia: Down the Rabbit Hole

The Walt Disney Family Museum presents the exhibition “Camille Rose Garcia: Down the Rabbit Hole.” On view from May 9 through November 3, 2013, this art exhibition in San Francisco features some 40 works by Garcia, alongside seven “Alice in Wonderland” concept paintings by Disney artist Mary Blair from the Museum’s collection. Organized by guest curator Tere Romo, the exhibition celebrates not only Garcia and Blair’s artistry across decades and artistic styles, but also the power of art to draw us into magical worlds that spark engagement and inspiration.

Since its publication in 1865, Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” has been reinterpreted visually in a wide range of artistic styles and media, including as an animated Walt Disney film in 1951. Over half a century later, Garcia has updated the enduring classic with her distinctive illustrations that capture a young girl’s surreal adventures after following a rabbit down a hole. In this exhibition of Garcia’s book illustrations, Alice’s encounters with the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter and Red Queen are quirky renditions of the main characters set against colorful backdrops. With her conscious disregard for perspective or scale in her compositions, Garcia creates a fresh and contemporary depiction of the dreamlike story. Her illustrations not only draw from a Goth sensibility, but also the thriving “low-brow art” movement in Los Angeles and its references to classic cartoons, 60’s TV sitcoms, rock music, and comic books. However, in keeping with Lewis’ intended audience, the illustrations retain the animation quality of the Disney film that continues to appeal to all generations.

Included in the exhibition are classic works by Disney legend Mary Blair. Credited with introducing modern art to the Disney studio, Mary Blair’s work was very adventuresome during the 1940s and 50s, especially in her use of asymmetrical shapes in her illustrations of animals, which created more dynamism and visually compelling scenes. Of the many films she contributed to, it was “Alice in Wonderland” that bears her influence as an artist in its bright colors and all-encompassing imagery that visually entices audiences into entering magical worlds.

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