Painted Moon River Teeth
the running wild children with hair falling to the glue island floor,
ripping up hair threads from the forest floor, all wet and gluey, yellowed pulling sticky messes from the belly of the island.
sticky feet pull up pull up
threadbare hairdogs emerge from the wet mess
and run with the wild children
In contrast to the commonplace standards of seamlessness in popular cinematic effects like CGI, contemporary animation responds to a growing need and interest in the accidental and vulnerable, the low-tech, and the homemade. Viewers have become aware of the inclusiveness and tangibility of more human-scale animation techniques, where process acts as rupture and nonlinear motivator of narrative. Artists in turn have become aware of animation’s ability to operate in between other art forms, able to re-imagine the meaning of formal and conceptual boundaries. Similarly, the animations contributed by Leslie Bell and Kiarra Albina in ‘Painted Moon and River Teeth’ are in intimate relationship with their materiality, activating new spaces for both artists and viewers to explore.
Leslie Bell’s interest in animation relates to her practice in painting and installation, where subject is influenced by scientific, philosophical, and intellectual states of growth. For Bell, thinking about and visualizing painting is a meditative and creative state of suspension which has influenced her work. Also influential are multi-media artists who “are incorporating impurities or complex systems into their work, either as a generative function or as a simulation”, wherein there is an awareness of abstraction and representation not as definitive binaries but as a hybrid with limitless potential. Bell has described her paintings as ecstatic structures, while her animations are the means to move in and out of those structures while simultaneously changing their physiology. Taking on the role of the moon in ‘Painted Moon and River Teeth’, Bell’s animations evoke the world from behind glass, where an onslaught of raindrops are of swirling jellyfish of liquid color and inky orbs, later resembling the dizzy viewpoint of watching fireworks, each candied crystallization spinning slowly and sleepily, halved like inkblots in twinned orbits.
Kiarra Albina describes her animating process as grown out of original drawings which she then builds on intuitively, fueled by a personal symbology of extreme experiences which she has been exploring through a self-directed drawing practice. In her drawings, stories are about bodies, about what they emit, and of what is emitted to other bodies; exudations pulse, stain, and drip syrupy limbs; forms resemble marshmallow, dough, bubblegum, lumpy pillows, and wet snakes of hair. The hand-drawn and painted forms in her animation are an extension of the heavily saturated figures in her drawings, appearing like space-crafts as environments for bodies which dream of layers of themselves. These layers appear as occlusions of their original bodies, operating as beings designed solely for the purpose of fugitive communication with the objects of their desire. Albina has mentioned graphic novel influences as well as that of artists whose drawings situate themselves and their motivations within similar psychosomatic spaces. To Albina, drawing and animation have the ability to describe, evoke, and perform immediate experiences of emotions, physical states, and fantastical bodies which can both extend and live beyond everyday life.
Both artists have a similar interest in ideas of phenomena as events which continually build, evolve, and dissipate, not unlike the cycles and loops of animation which encapsulate narratives within narratives. This evokes writer Christian McCrea’s description of the complexity of animation’s spatiality as worlds which need not contain the integrity of a single identity, but are constantly re-envisioned by an inherent interior force. McCrea suggests this creates the kind of movement which often “eats the signs which stand between it and our pure physical response…repurposing the body’s final moment”. This boundary-less nature of animation is further discussed by writer Norman Klein, who describes animation’s particular ability to take on various states of physical and psychological fragmentation, making animation ideal for exploring “the loss of control, the loss of the past, the loss of representation” . In ‘Painted Moon and River Teeth’, the process of animation allows both Bell and Albina to approach their practice in cross-sensory ways, wherein drawings and painting leave traces through and beyond their materiality, and lodges in the memory of the viewer.
By Kim Neudorf
 Bell, Leslie. leslie bell. 15 August. 2009. http://lesliebell.ca/home.html.
 Bell, Leslie. Qtd.
 Albina, Kiarra. Qtd.
 McCrea, Christian. “Explosive, Expulsive, Extraordinary: The Dimensional Excess of Animated Bodies”. Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol 3(1): 9–24, 2008. Page 14.
 McCrea, Christian. “Explosive, Expulsive, Extraordinary: The Dimensional Excess of Animated Bodies”. Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol 3(1): 9–24, 2008. Page 15.
 Klein, Norman. The Vatican to Vegas : a history of special effects. The New York Press, 2004. Page 253.