Not a Creature was Stirring

Not a Creature was Stirring
10/2010, Goodwill (2222 and Lamar)

GrumpyMouse1380bA character seemingly imported from the dumpster of the Christmas Special/Industrial Complex, the mouse depicted on this not-so-jolly decoration (wood on paint, roughly 8 inches tall) draws from “The Night Before Christmas,” “A Christmas Carol,” and perhaps the awkward two-dimensionality of Egyptian frieze art. Far from being cheerful and seasonally warm, this little mouse wrinkles his nose in disgust at his candle, at the bow on his tail, and perhaps the crass commercialism of the winter season. Meanwhile, a wreath rises over him, as hungry as a hellmouth, but with holly prickles instead of a toothy maw.

The artist of Stirring seems to be simultaneously embracing and rejecting Christmas, his artistic thesis turning on the dualistic “Scrooge” character, a creature of miserly want and rich generosity, depending on what side of midnight he stands. Tellingly, the Scrooge-mouse carries an unlit taper, a new candle to see him through the long, strange night that is to follow, and a subtle sign that his journey of a Christmas eve is…yet to come.

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