Why Art?

Eleanor Davis. Fantagraphics, $14.99 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-68396-082-9
Eisner Award–winner Davis (You & a Bike & a Road) seeks to answer eternal questions about the purpose of creativity in a metaphysical jaunt through the artistic process. In the closest thing this wide-ranging exploration has to a story, a group of artists, having had their gallery and artwork destroyed by a terrible storm, find refuge in creation. Davis sketches their journey with wry humor and her characteristic empathy. Opaque black pages symbolize art people “try hard not to look at” lest despair overwhelm them. Curly-edged doodles of fluff represent the “sweet artwork of no taste” that an audience consumes for mindless comfort. Artists themselves are depicted as nigh-magical, if often foolish: they make “talismans” for times of crisis, incorporate literal shark attacks into their performance pieces, and grow holes in their backs to house their children. Art, to Davis, is an obsession, a pathway, a curse, and a savior. But above all, her figures—big-bodied, yet rendered in the elegantly sparse line that has become her trademark—stumble ever forward, their journey the answer to the title’s question: Why art? Davis answers, precisely and with passion: why ever not? (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/26/2018
Release date: 02/01/2018
Genre: Comics
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