Friday, February 11, 2011
Sean Bluechel "Another With Suspension" (REVISED)
Visiting Sean Bluechel's current show is like walking into an adolescent nightmare. The artist managed to transform bright colors, a nude female model, and seemingly inexpensive materials like cardboard, clay, and balloons, into clownish horrors. Inside the gallery space the viewer is confronted with an overwhelming collection of ceramic objects and walls packed with photographs. The objects are arranged on makeshift sawhorses that resemble an artist's studio, and perhaps the chaotic environment in which the works were created. The collection is a frenzied mass of gloppy glazes and sloppy construction. Many individual pieces resemble broken bits of thrift store tableware assembled in to sagging and clumsy architectural structures. As the viewer snakes around the work-tables (paying close attention not to knock anything over in the cramped space) he begins to notice the alarming photographs. The model's face is hidden in every frame while the rest of her naked body is exposed and fused with awkward and fragile looking prosthetic appendages. Her poses are not vulgar, but upsetting nonetheless. The clumsy alterations of her body render her grotesque and pitifully vulnerable all at once. The show’s one redeeming quality (and what may hold the viewer’s attention beyond a passing glance) is its self-referential sense of humor. There is a fist sized object hiding amongst the larger ceramic works that looks exactly like a pile of dog excrement with a red candy heart on top. It is a perfect summary of the entire show, and Bluechel invited the comparison.