I find myself saying “What a world” a lot. Usually in response to some incomprehensible human behavior or some new social/political development that I can’t believe is happening. I associate the phrase “What a world” with The Wizard of Oz, when the Wicked Witch of the West is melting and speaks the words “What a world, what a world…Who would have thought that some little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness.” Even as a child this intrigued me, how the evil side can also be astonished by behavior and circumstance. We assume that ethics, morality, beliefs start from an objective vantage point. The current political crises, that seems to pit multiple incompatible and mutually incomprehensible world views against each other, is a terrifying embodiment of this phenomenon. More prosaically perhaps, we see the challenge of understanding the world through another person’s eyes played out in art, where idiosyncratic visions lead artists to create objects that are sometimes utterly mysterious to other minds. This of course is not a bad working definition of art itself, and of its discontents. Some of it I love, some of it I don’t.
For this exhibition I’ve chosen sculptures I love, but whose meanings are somewhat elusive to me. I like also that they communicate a sense of wonder, and I like how they look, behave and feel in space.
Sculpture is physical and in our world, and it is a given that artists create their own worlds. I’m interested in how this artwork fits into the real world, whether physically, contextually, intellectually.
Anna Rosen makes sculptures from her grandmothers world. A world of ceramic tchotchkes and hand painted flowers on every surface. Rosen inherited all her grandmothers things and incorporates them into sculptures that speak to me in a language of wit and charm.
Caroline Cox makes cosmic universes of swirling blue filament and clear orbs. These dramatic pieces can be interpreted as planets and worlds as we know them in our universe, clear and simple, yet messy and disorganized.
Jane Benson’s elegant assemblages using furniture and household objects and string instruments cut in half defy gravity, with the theme of division and connectedness comment on weighty political states of middle eastern states.
Harry Finkelstein’s sculptures include handmade and found objects, with the insertion of geodes and chunks of natural rock. These natural elements come from the earth. They are real world elements but look like what we in art classically define as abstract.
Matt Freedman & Jude Tallichet’s dripping keyboards hung out to dry are a wry nod to surrealism, a parallel world invented by art. They are fun colorful and bright but why did they make these? When I look at them I expect them to disappear in Cheshire cat style.
Ron Baron takes vintage doll houses and mounts them floorside to the wall embellished with trees and all things miniature. Sideways we look at a miniature suburban world…care to comment?
Donna Huanca’s mucked up unwearable stilettos are a contemporary compliment to Dorothy’s ruby slippers…
Parlours are the public space in the private worlds of one’s home, and this complex nexus makes The Parlour Bushwick the perfect gallery to stage this challenging but beguiling exhibition.