Neil Kendricks: Temple of Story

temple of story

Stories and Drawings by Neil Kendricks, Music and Sound Design by Mike Mare

october 9, 2021–february 20, 2022 

“We need stories now more than ever. 

Future generations will ultimately understand our unprecedented times of pandemic, crazed demagogues, and failed insurrections through the art and stories that come out of this period in history. Artists, writers, playwrights, and filmmakers will construct funhouse-mirror reflections capturing the loss, chaos, and bewilderment, along with the courage, innovation, and resilience of human beings finding their way through the confusion of the early 21st century. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I wrote short fiction to wrap my mind and heart around the days and nights of contagion, quarantine, and masks in a private vigil for better tomorrows. 

In collaboration with composer and musician Mike Mare, Temple of Story offers a fascinating exploration into the process of how my stories are created in a fusion of images, sound, and text. In this exhibition, viewers will take a stroll through a forest of fables with drawings on the walls to illuminate their path. Graphic narratives erupting with bursts of magical realism will be integrated with Mare’s atmospheric music and sound design, allowing them to discover an intimacy with an unseen storyteller. 

Temple of Story is dedicated to the memory of my loving and much-loved father Willie James Kendricks (1941–2018), who taught me the power of art and the written word to build bridges of understanding in our increasingly complex world.”

—Artist Neil Kendricks

Neil Kendricks: Temple of Story

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Featuring Ten Short Fiction Stories

Dreams of Lisa imagines a painting-enshrouded spirit in the Louvre bearing witness to Paris’ most famous museum closing its doors and windows during the Great Lockdown. Who are the masked strangers gathering in the shuttered museum of art and antiquities? 

Feral unfolds with the surreal rush of childhood memories of an unreliable narrator who has become something more than human. This haunting fairy tale of fire flies and the siren song of an enchanted forest offers a call to adventure for curious listeners. However, things are not what they appear to be. Watch your back.

Life Among the Cocoons flash forwards into a future of body swapping where the inequities between the Haves and the Have-Nots have widened into an unbridgeable chasm. Powerful science fiction is always about the present reflected back to us through the distorted glass of funhouse mirrors in the mind. Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes, the comforts of idle leisure conceal aesthetically pleasing traps for unsuspecting souls. (Mature subject matter)

Memory of the Elders introduces you to a towering, ancient and wise elder lamenting a vanishing eco-system as man’s impulse to exhaust our planet’s natural resources runs amok. This tale of fantasy and magical realism shows what happens when climate change gets personal on our fragile planet.

Mr. Incognito ushers the listener into the frantic, sleep-deprived headspace of a wary traveler haunted by an enigmatic woman against the backdrop of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. What is a creative to do when he finds his muse in a world of social distancing and six feet of separation? Listen and meet Mr. Incognito on the case of the mystery woman of his dreams.

Smoke, Mirrors and the Shadow invites you to ride shotgun on the nocturnal tour of a sleeping city on the cusp of awakening with a faceless shadow as your silent companion and guide. Tread lightly on the night-time walkabout of living shadows of moonlight and dust. 

Wallpaper Ghosts chronicles a most unusual New Year’s Eve with a woman who discovers that she has more in common with her next-door neighbor than she realized. The voice on the other side of the wallpaper is pleased to meet you. (Mature subject matter)

Your Pod, My Pod blossoms with a poetic, love story of two strangers – a man and a woman – who meet when they emerge from their respective barricaded apartments to discover that a mysterious plague has loosened its grip on a city in lockdown.

Extraction lures you into the hallucinatory perceptions of an unreliable narrator who finds himself trapped in the embrace of the most unlikely torture device—a dentist’s chair. You have been warned. (Mature subject matter)

The Great Migration of Letters follows an elderly bookseller caught in a tsunami of mutinous books springing to life. You read that right. Relax and listen to what happens when books fly from bookshelves with a secret yearning to be free to choose their own readers. This love letter to the pleasures of reading is for anyone who answers the call of literature to take us to new worlds of discovery and wonder.   

VIDEO TRAILER FOR THE EXHIBITION

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARTIST

Click here to see the artist’s website.

Click here to read a San Diego Union Tribune article about Neil Kendricks' art practice

 

PROGRAMMING RELATED TO THIS EXHIBITION

Exhibition Celebration, Saturday, November 20, 2021

 

Header artwork: Dreams of Lisa (detail) by Neil Kendricks

If you would like to learn more about the artwork, including if the artist has work available to purchase, please email exhibitions@oma-online.org.