April 2017: Max Adrian

3:35 pm, May 31, 2017 in Blog, Photography, Reviews by Colette Mihocik



Max Adrian, The Sensational, Inflatable Furry Divines, installation view, 2017




Max Adrian’s exhibition The Sensational, Inflatable Furry Divines, is made up of three bulbous, towering creatures suspended from the ceiling, constructed from a variety of tactile materials that transform the gallery into a bold, playful atmosphere. The ballooning figures tower over the average person – a scale reminiscent of idolatry. Adrian’s inspiration for his practice is embedded in the history of craft as a vehicle for storytelling and community building, illustrating a conversation about identity and self expression; fine crafts like quilting, sewing, puppetry as tools for communication. His work also discusses how this history of craft runs parallel to the LBGTQ community in how this mode of art provides a means of self expression for a demographic that is evolving out of a struggling oppression. The playhouse guardians hover just above the floor, suspended by chains over fans functioning on a timer – this creates a dynamic and aloof atmosphere, with the bodies deflating and inflating suddenly, popping up and out, emphasizing its own presence in act like breathing. Their material tactility invites the audience to touch the rounded planes of faux leather, faux fur, vinyl, and spandex.






 Max Adrian, installation detail



Luther: The Furry Divine of Questionable Head is a symmetrical, inviting entity with five pink conical arms smoothly jutting out from its fuzzy, plush body. Upon closer inspection, one can see the same triangle pattern sewn repeatedly to create the gray hairy body and it’s rounded pink faux leather “head”, recalling the hand and history of craftwork that inspires Adrian. When the body is deflated, the head disappears entirely; only on inflation does it’s pink head emerge from within it, reminiscent of a brain popping out into existence – not being afraid to show every part of itself to the audience.






Max Adrian, Luther: The Furry Divine of Questionable Head, 2017



Jester: The Furry Divine of Cowardly Courtship floats over seven feet high, and is covered in shaggy brown faux-fur with a white face, adorned by five gold floppy horns with jingle bells – much like the iconic jesters hat. The fur material of the body varies, cascading down in a triangular pattern. On the back of its head is a golden furry star, reflecting the red faux leather star centered on its face. It slightly jingles whenever it inflates and deflates, adding faint sound to the exhibition that recalls a childlike whimsy.




Max Adrian,Jester: The Furry Divine of Cowardly Courtship, 2017



The third installment in this jovial community is Act II, Scene IV: Snowman, with three spherical body parts vertically stacked like a childhood snowman or a narrative totem figure. It has starkly contrasted colors, differing from the softer palette of the other two puppets; shiny white satin and red pleather arrow patterns disappear into quiet and absorbent orbs of black fur. The name asserts the work’s connection to performance and the narrative structure of theatre by referencing the way plays are organized.





Max Adrian,Jester: Act II, Scene IV: Snowman, 2017



These soft sculptures – with their uniform geometry of pleasing textures and colors – stand reminiscent of a jester, a teddy bear or even a school’s mascot. These figural associations, these puppet-like creatures, are themselves evolved from theatrics, from performance. They seamlessly snug themselves in the intimate gallery setting, existing together in a harmonious community. Despite their tendency towards the bizarre they are animatedly warm and inviting, highlighting the duality of playfulness and depravity, of the desire to conceal one’s identity and to freely express it.


April 2017: Galen Gibson-Cornell

3:17 pm, in Blog, Photography, Reviews by Colette Mihocik




Galen Gibson-Cornell, Installation Shot, 2017



Galen Gibson-Cornell explores cities in Europe in order to decipher the visual literacy posted around places such as Berlin, Budapest, Venice and Novi Sad. Using the urban landscape as his inspiration, he reinterprets the posters and flyers that coat the walls of outdoor public spaces, taking every measure to personally investigate their life from creation to their showcasing, and inevitable destruction as a piece of ephemera exposed to the elements. Upon entering the installation, the viewer is confronted with overwhelmingly large imagery constructed through an act of repetition that at once both mimics and distorts the imagery discovered on the surface of a city. This tedious and methodical practice is Gibson-Cornell’s way of unpacking and reforming the results of his investigations. A closer inspection reveals the rawness of his materials; one can see the fishing line ties sticking out from the conglomerated image like little hair strands, further engrossing the larger-than-life scale of the environment from which the inspiration originated.








Galen Gibson-Cornell, Kick Your Friends (1) (side view), installation view, 2017







Galen Gibson-Cornell, Kick Your Friends (1), 2017




Gibson-Cornell uses old European cities as a template to satiate his fascination with history and the role the historian plays in an evolving culture. The duality of old world culture and contemporary society sets the stage for him to peel back the layers, and ultimately the history, of thesis urban environments. The manipulation of the materials aims to investigate the ever evolving relationship of contemporary society within the historically rich European cities. He regards his practice as an interface with the fleeting nature of these environments as a “contemplative preservation”, collecting many materials on site by photography and/or actual removal of the material from the site. The final result of being woven acts as a symbol of solidifying and stabilizing these witnessed moments.






 Galen Gibson-Cornell, Kick Your Friends (8), 2017







Kick Your Friends (8), detail




The subjects of this series come from posters of pop singer Mark Forster and posters of Italian soccer players. Gibson-Cornell patternizes and expands upon the display of his subjects, distorting their identities within a composition of repeating pixels. In Kick Your Friends (1) and Kick Your Friends (8), the result is a portrait compiled in a new perspective, one that renders the context of the player’s individuality into anonymity. This is reflective of the moments in time and space where the posters originally existed, and how it’s quickly evolving environment tends towards disappearance as it is swallowed up by an instantaneous, contemporary society. The largest piece, Mark Forster, hangs like a flag the ceiling down onto the floor. The distorted image of the pop singer is recreated by 48 individual posters, grids made up from even smaller photographic squares in a complimentary composition of blue and orange. The features of the face – eyes, glasses, mouth – are repeated and overlapped within the grid in a way that suggests an instant moment of a shutter in movement. Gibson-Cornell uses his language to manipulate the materials in order to create work like a scientist collecting and presenting data of a very specific moment in modern history.






 Galen Gibson-Cornell,  Mark Forster, 2017







Mark Forster (detail)






Mark Forster (detail)




March 2017: Alicia Little

2:24 pm, May 25, 2017 in Blog, Photography, Reviews by Colette Mihocik



Alicia Little, Installation Shot, 2017




Alicia Little’s exhibition Stand ups and low riders/ fragments and the end takes you to a playground of absurdity. The work harmonizes a space between painting and sculpture, employing the formalities of color and form to create abstract shapes that avoid explicit reference, and simultaneously are enticing in the same formal sense. Her sculptures are made from plaster and paint materials, each piece specific and unique, as well as playful and inviting. In some moments the exhibition hints at an essence of something bodily with it’s elongated and phallangic forms, at others the shapes are more obscure. One of the delights of Little’s work is that everything begs for comparison to objects out in the world. For example, her piece Slope, Tip is just as readily referred to as “a piece of toast with jelly” or “a picture frame” or “a pink quadrilateral propped by an orange tube.” The audience is surrounded in the exhibition by these sculptures, with each encounter calling upon the little nuances of their material and composition.






Alicia Little, Fragment (Coil Snake),  plaster and paint, 2017




Like a biologist, Little categorizes each sculpture by how it functions or exists in space. A piece is either a “stand up,” “low rider” or a “fragment.” The fragments accurately resemble what their name suggests—singular and momentary, the shapes are contextualized only by the gallery floor or wall they occupy. These fragments force the viewer to focus on the materiality of each piece. They appear to have been pulled from an abstract two-dimensional world and into our own- a pale blue spiral, an unpolished shiny loaf, a yellow wire grid, and a couple purpley polygons. They are titled with their class and a brief visual description- Fragment (Gold), Fragment (purple), Fragment (Coil snake).






 Alicia Little, Still Life with Plastic Orange, 2017




The low riders, Still Life with Plastic Orange, Elongated Lump, Limb (with blue powder)Slope, Tip and What is Mine and What is Yours are named as such because each rises to about knee height. The pieces are coated in thick, glossy paint and coupled with another material element, like powdered pigment, stuffed fabric, or a plastic vase and orange. The low riders introduce the context of comparison, using said varying materials to create a dialogue about their postures. For example, What is Mine and What is Yours could readily be described as a “yellow bean snake on a red slide”. A long and malleable yellow form rests down the spine of a sturdy triangular arch – creating a discourse about posture and reliance for support. The conversation about stance and lack of strength continues with Little’s “stand-up” pieces. While not quite chest height, Stand Up (with yellow reflection), and Stand Up (with silicone) loom above the rest of the sculptures. The effects of gravity act on these more so than the others. Stand Up (with yellow reflection) leans against the wall precariously, as if it was propped there momentarily and then forgotten—however, the yellow reflection on the wall reveals the intention of the piece. In Stand Up (with silicone) a pale sheet of silicone hangs completely limp on a metal frame. The silicone starts to move towards something more human, resembling the feel of a skin. To impose a bodily gesture, the posture of both pieces could be described as a slouch.




 Alicia Little, Stand Up (with Yellow Reflection), 2017



 Each piece is texturally rich and Little’s hand is evident as her biggest tool. Little creates shapes like enlarged chunks of Play-Doh, as if they’ve been pinched, rolled and molded by a pair of oversized hands. Little’s sculptures, despite their abstraction and whimsy are referential of something physically relatable. Through their light-hearted and playful expression of shape and color, they describe familiar and common aspects of, as Little states “being a body in the world.”





 Alicia Little, Stand Up, steel, enamel and silicone, 2017



March 2017: Woomin Kim

2:52 pm, May 15, 2017 in Blog, Photography, Reviews by Haley Kedziora



 Woomin Kim, Unknown Species Installation View




Woomin Kim combines woven sculptures and documentary photographs in an exhibition that investigates the relationship between modern society and the natural environment. Kim’s work oscillates between the relative familiarity of humanity and the strangeness of nature. A room is filled with soft, furry objects that very nearly fulfill the conventions of a domestic space- a patchwork of rugs lay on the floor, while framed photos, coats and sculptures reminiscent of hunting trophies are mounted on the wall and shapes that may or may not be body parts lie quietly on the floor. The atmosphere is comforting in its softness; there are no hard edges, no towering forms. The materials and scale of Kim’s work hides connotations of violence, subtly blanketed by the act of its displacement, or removal, from nature. Upon further inspection the shapes on the floor are dismembered body parts: a lost set of antlers, a severed tail, and another object indeterminate but equally maimed. These pieces are constructed from the shorn hair of fur coats, which hang bald on the wall in contrast to the fuzzy planes spread out on the floor. Her photographs are self-portraits—nude, except for a mask made from the artist’s own hair. The sight of this primitive figure contrasts the interior environment of a modern-day abode, bringing to light dichotomies between animal and human, habitat and home, and the brutality that occurs from man’s self-imposed disassociation from the rest of the natural world.






 Woomin Kim,”nknown Species, shaved fur coats, animal fur (fox, rabbit, racoon, mink, lamb, squirrel, dog, unknown), dimensions variable, 2017.




In Unknown Species, Kim collected used animal fur coats, shaved them, and harvested the fur. Stripping the coats of their intrinsic value yields an eerie, anthropic patchwork of skin, the resolution of a past violent encounter. The coats hang in a close row resembling a display of trophy animals, or even an executional lineup. The color palettes of the coats consist of natural tones that are intermittently contrasted with furs dyed hot pink or bright turquoise, further delving into the assimilation of nature into commodity with it’s unnatural hue interrupting the softness and familiarity of real animal fur.






Woomin Kim, ”Unknown Species”, “Atrophy #2″, beaver fur, 81x50x32 cm, 2016), 2017




The shaved fur was gathered and transformed into multiple sculptural components, some woven into larger textiles and the rest spun into thread and crocheted into forms to resemble various animal body parts. Displayed intermittently throughout the exhibition the soft, inanimate sculptures convey an unnerving reminder of taxidermy. The woven textiles lay composed like a patchwork puzzle in front of their former resting place, the bare coats. The furry nature of the material contrasts with the blunt harshness by which it was removed, resulting in a glimpse into the violence to nature performed by man.





Woomin Kim, ”Habitat”, inkjet print, 91x56cm, 2017




In her photographic series Habitat Kim documents herself in her private, domestic environment, adorning only an entirely-encompassing head mask created from the artist’s own hair. The portraits show a hybrid animal-human creature in a calm contemporary environment – sitting at a cluttered work desk, lounging on a couch. Of the three portraits, the most captivating is the shot of the artist looking at her own reflect in the mirror; the reflection stares back at Kim, back out into the audience. The world looks upon this as a moment of self-revelation—she looks at herself as human and animal simultaneously, both natural and disguised. The thematic element of hair becomes the connective component in describing a duality of man and beast in Kim’s installation, ultimately revealing the minimal yet prominent difference between the two worlds.






Woomin Kim, ”Habitat”, artist’s hair, fabric, 30x28x38cm, 2017


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