A lush stop-frame animation, Water Panics in the Sea revels in all things liquid, viscous and aqueously sepulchral. One of a series by New York-based artist Laleh Khorramian exploring the classical elements, the film (the most recent installment in the SLAM's New Media Series) depicts H2O as a hypnotic and all-consuming force, with the exception of a mysterious, massive vessel that travels its capricious terrain. This is not your typical cartoon animation, but it's as spectacular as anything Hollywood conjures. The key lies in Khorramian's means, which are largely analog: To achieve the unusual visual texture of her piece, she has enlarged minute swatches of handmade monotype prints), extracting abstract fields of saturated color and sweeping, painterly marks. Lurching and groaning to an eerie score (by Shahzad Ismaily), the porous ghost ship moves through layers of brushstrokes and oily reticulation, an Odyssean character in search of an epic plot. Shadowy figures intermittently appear, working industriously on unknowable projects, but this is a largely unpeopled vision, ruled by water and the intimation of a dark and inscrutable journey. Through October 21 at the Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive (in Forest Park); 314-721-0072 or www.slam.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sun. (10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.)
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