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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Between Wonder

Today was the last day that Megan DeArmond's show "Between Wonder" was up. Here are a few pics if you missed it, or if you want to refresh your memory.

In her talk, DeArmond referenced the "Finish Fetish" artists that were working out of LA in the 60s; using synthetic materials like plastics, they made handmade objects that appeared machine-made. And indeed her rabbits (chosen as a totem because of their role, in Lewis Carroll and elsewhere, as a creature that navigates between the worlds of fantasy and reality) look like they could've rolled out of a toy factory in Taiwan.

Or at least they look that way at first glance. I wouldn't say the rabbits work their cuteness in a subversive manner, exactly, but there's something idiosyncratic about their expressions. They're not quite as solicitous in their faces as toys usually are. There's something internal about the adventures they're having. There's a flickering hint of an inner life, apart from what might be imposed on them as playthings.

The forms modeled on acorns looked, to me, like vacuum-sealed containers. The seed as a prototype tupperware. Rather than containing the genesis of an oak, I could imagine popping one open to find a jello-mold. The bits of fruit and marshmallows suspended in the jello would be made of translucent resin.

DeArmond also flagged the "Superflat" movement as a source of inspiration (in her case, she said, without the layering of psychosexual disfunction -- though I do think there's a common thread of infantalization). Her work does seem to speak to a modern experience of childhood, where the all the stand-ins for the adult world, the dolls and trucks and shrunken habitats, are fashioned from plastic. Our childhood among the polymers.

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