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.


  1. In the first sentence, the use of "in to" is grammatically incorrect. The preposition "into" indicates movement toward the inside of a place, so it is the proper choice. If you are going to use the word "manage", in this case it should be "manages" as opposed to "managed" as the work is in the present, it exists now. However, I would use the word "uses" or "utilizes" and leave out the words "to" and "transform". Then, change the word "into" to "to" and put "create" after it. I think that would make the process or situation more clear. There should be a period after "of ceramic objects", because that is the end of one idea. Then the next sentence can describe the photographs on the walls. I do not agree with the word "littered". The photographs were well organized, this word makes me think of a wall completely covered or a thrift store-like display, which was not the case. In the next sentence the word "ceramic" before the word "objects" would make the description more clear. Also in this sentence, leave out "seem to", it is a passive addition, it reads better when the writer sounds confident in their description. In the next sentence again indicate whether you are talking about the photographs or the ceramic pieces, just to be really clear in your description. The word "inexpensive", used to describe the prosthetic appendages, is odd to me ... maybe the word "cheap" is better? I like this statement, it is true:

    "She is thus rendered animalistic, grotesque, and pitifully vulnerable all at once."

    The last sentence seems weak. I like the idea, but it should be re-worked to exclude "I" and emphasize the poop piece's summation of the artist's intentions.

  2. “Her face is exclusively covered up, yet the rest of her naked self is fused with inexpensive awkward prosthetic appendages.”

    This sentence seems to drive at a number of separate ideas. The use of “exclusive” seems awkward. Maybe you could use “invariably?” “Yet” is also misleading, since I don’t think that covering up her face contradicts attaching things to the rest of her body; if the rest of her body were exposed, “yet” might be appropriate, but as it is these two facts work in together. In my opinion, “self” implies a psychological or metaphysical dimension, and an agency, that you don’t touch on elsewhere – “body” might work better. A comma or “and” is needed between "inexpensive" and "awkward.” Without it, the two become a single rather odd describing term.

    The "it's" before "self conscious sense of humor" should be a pronoun, "its," not the contraction of "it is."

  3. I felt this critique was appropriate in length, fostered accurate visualizations and had a clear, respectable opinion. The rather negative critique strangely highlights the bizarreness of the exhibit making it more appealing.

    I agree with Catherine that the last sentence has potential, but needs a bit of work.

    "gloopy glazes and sloppy construction" in my opinion is perfectly in-tune with the work presented, insinuating a child-like creation that might be trash, but might be wonderfully characterful.