Monster Brains: Links to Monsters and the Fantastic

Visual arts like painting have always seemed to me so much better suited to the horror genre than more narrative arts like film or fiction. Horror narratives rely too much on atmosphere, created by contrasts between the majority of narrative events that are mundane and the few that are horrific, whereas art freed from any sense of cause and effect is free, also, to revel in those irreducible moments of the uncanny so impossible to sustain in a narrative. At any rate, I find this daily blog, consecrated to the display and linking of monster art, less repetitive and more rousing than any similar site I’ve visited about horror flicks or stories. Curator (and monster artist himself) Aeron Alfrey has grotesquely catholic taste when it comes to beasties, which permits his site to encompass all genres, schools, and nationalities of monster art. Primitivists meet surrealists, engravers of science textbooks mix with cut-and-paste artists, old masters rub shoulders with pulp illustrators, and Japanese yokai mingle with creatures out of Estonian lore. Much of what Alfrey turns up–which he posts an image of, a few related links for, and sometimes a brief write-up about–admittedly looks like warmed-over Bosch, but what matters is not how original or unique these artists might be (though some few do manage an eerie distinction, like underground comix outcast Rory Hayes). Rather, what continues to impress, day after day, is just how unending this bestiary has turned out to be–it seems we’ve created more monsters than we know how to catalogue, and that alone is kind of freaky. (Sean Rogers)

monsterbrains.blogspot.com

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