April 2017: Max Adrian

In Blog, Photography, Reviews By by Colette Mihocik On May 31, 2017

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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.

 

 

 

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 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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.