The Gallery 4 presents
"Echoroad" New Sequential Art and Comic Book Release by Leslie Minnis

"Echoroad" opens Saturday, March 7th 2015 and runs through Saturday, March 28th 2015 at The Gallery 4 (206 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside, 412-363-5050).The opening reception will take place Saturday, March 7th 2015 from 7-11PM and will be opened to the general public with complimentary refreshments and hors d'oeuvres provided by The Gallery 4. The Gallery 4 is open Tuesday through Saturday 1- 8PM .

The Gallery 4 is so pleased to welcome back Leslie Minnis. Minnis, a Denver, Colorado native; received a bachelor’s degree from the Art Institute of Colorado and has worked for well over a decade in the video game industry as a concept artist in the United States and abroad. Her illustrations have been included in a number of books. Some notable examples have appeared in David Freeman’s "Creating Emotion in Games", Eric Cagle’s "Star Wars: Ultimate Adversaries", and a Monster Manual for prominent fantasy gaming publisher, Wizards of the Coast. Many of you may recall Minnis’s work from Summer 2013’s exhibition, “Ghost Feeding Arena” at The Gallery 4 - featuring her stunning, larger-than-life oil paintings, and the associated handmade props featured therein.

After “Ghost Feeding Arena”, Minnis embarked on another new personal project entitled “Echoroad” - a graphic novel with an innovative approach to storytelling that explores memory, identity and delirium. It is composed of a set of five comic issues that comprise a single graphic novel. Each comic embodies one of the five main characters, and each of those characters represents a separate aspect of the human psyche inspired, in part, by Carl Jung's archetypes.

Minnis, on “Echoroad” -

"In Echoroad, the human species exists more as a collective cognitive entity, rather than as individuals. As we traverse towards a collective ‘old age’ as a species, our brains lessen in their ability to function as a storage system for thoughts. The decline manifests itself as widespread dementia, and a heightening of materialism. Human memories have become tangible and contained within the matter of our surrounding objects. This transfer of memories occurs through handling these inanimate objects. Once the transfer is complete; a void remains behind in the brain. These objects can be therefore kept, traded, lost, and used to experience the past lives of other people. However, each handling causes a further decomposition of the memory the object holds, as a purposeful lack of handling an object or memory could be regarded asa kind of secret. With humanity near its end, we collectively long for an understanding of “the human dream”, but have come to see that we had lost this dream through a kind of objectification. Therefore we can neither gain empowerment from our faith or our skill , and thus began our departure from our natural place in the world. The hero of our story is Ash, an archeologist of his own identity who stands for our consciousness. He fights through chaos to form a mental map based on experiences, hoping that this can somehow lead him to find and reclaim our history. Emil, Ash's only friend, is a character who has inherited wisdom, much like a piece of our unconscious. He is a master of retaining experiences, but Ash often forgets or fails to understand him. The Anima is the character that represents Ash’s childlike dreams and potential . She is his imaginary friend or shadow; and represents what dreams he has for his future. As the Anima symbolizes potential and desires, this also leads to a denial of reality or escape into fantasy. Because she is something that Ash yearns for, she can also be seen as his weakness or vulnerability. The Trickster acts as a double-sided reality, much like a machine or technology are seen in our world today. He is stagnate, a statue frozen in time because he is without a dream. By his doubt he naturally exploits the weakness of the Anima. The fifth story is about the Dragon which symbolizes a piece of Ash that was either taken or given up from his past , something outside of himself that he now strives to reclaim. Here we explore whether he can successfully navigate the difference between himself and his environment."

With “Echoroad”, Minnis is forging a stunning, new graphic language in Sequential Art . Composed of five beautifully realized, seamlessly streamed together graphic depictions - The irregularly shaped panels help assemble each page to fit into the “big picture” or overall mosaic of Echoroad. These attempt to show the entirety of the story simultaneously. An exciting new mode in visual storycrafting.

"A completely individual experience is impossible, as language makes no sense without someone else with which to converse. In addition to this, we can have no meaning without language. Grammar, a law within language, is what helps to make sense of it. Grammar is much like laws or boundaries (established within a culture) that need to be drawn within experiences, to give them their meaning and shape. A life with no boundaries fails to give your experiences form, and so there again you need other people to live meaningfully. Essentially, Echoroad is a moral map: When it is too large, individual meaning suffers; when it is too small, meaning in itself decays. Exploring some of these ideas was the inspiration for Echoroad."- Leslie Minnis



“Echoroad”
Created and Illustrated by Leslie Minnis
Written by Andrew States and Leslie Minnis

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The Gallery 4 is committed to redefining the nature of a conventional gallery. We feature works from a variety of national artists and local talent. We also carry a variety of limited edition toys and clothing. Fine art should be within the reach of everyone, and at The Gallery 4 we are making this a reality.