Thursday, March 10, 2011

Evan Perry

Frightening beauty is what dawns the Sperone Westwater Gallery with the hyper realistic silicone sculptures of Evan Perry. The life- size- and sometimes larger than life- human sculptures magnify and reveal details that are minute and flawless. The scale and medium employed provide an overbearing visual experience as the viewer is uncomfortably confronted, and essentially forced to embrace reality as surreal.

In one of three self- portraits, Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (Not) Be. (2010) is a life size bust which compels the viewer to repulsively observe and glare at every ghastly follicle; every wavy wrinkle, every tiny skin pore. Protruding from the wall whilst sporting a dully green t-shirt, the artist has portrayed himself ingloriously, vainly making no effort in hiding his frail countenance, signs of aging, nor his facial blemishes. It is Perry’s adeptly intricate handling of human imperfection that is beautifully magnificent and thus that which ultimately makes us human.

It is this notion of imperfection that Perry pushes to extremes with his largest and dramatically distorted (not to mention, empirically painful) piece, Jim Revisited (2011). Jim’s larger than life presence isn’t heightened by his majestic contrapposto stance (or his gargantuan genitals), but more interestingly, it is the mesmerisingly obscure anatomical structure of Jim that not only disrupts the viewer’s perception, but wonderfully distorts the space in which the sculpture occupies. As Jim leans disconcertingly off his pedestal it is logical to assume that underneath this flimsy sculpture lays a solid structure coated with silicone and pigment. However Perry’s intrinsically vulgar attention to detail; details that devilishly invite the viewer to hypnotically gaze at Jim’s bareness, quickly dissipate all that is logical and real- Jim is suddenly reality.

Throughout Perry’s pretentious exhibition, it is the splendour in his honest depictions of imperfections that essentially leave the viewer both bemused, and humbled. Such obscene attention to detail is inspiringly profound; even more so as Female Stretch (2011) - undoubtedly the most confounding of Perry’s sculptures- involves distortion that is inconceivably absurd, it effectively contests our perception of reality. As iconic as Female Stretch is, what is it and is it a part of reality? Is reality defined by how we perceive and learn it to be? Or is it how we create it that defines it? The answer to this conundrum may truly lie within the walls of Sperone Westwater Gallery.


  1. No space needed between "life"'s dash and "size". I don't think you need the word "sometimes" or the dash between "life" and "human" in sentence two. The word "flawless", also in sentence two, doesn't seem right, maybe "flawlessly accurate" or "minutely observed"?? End sentence three with "experience". Delete comma after "confronted".

    Get rid of the word "in" - first word of second paragraph. The sentence is grammatically incorrect with it, but works fine without. Delete period after "be". Add comma after "(2010)". Turn the semicolon after "follicle" into a comma. Add "and" between comma and "every". Turn "dully" into "dull" (I think). I am not sure about the use of "vainly". I can see how it's vain to pay such close attention to yourself, but to pair the word with personal blemishes is confusing.

    Add a comma after "however" toward the end of paragraph three.

    Delete comma after "bemused" in paragraph four. The second sentence in paragraph four seems to run on.

    Good description of the show - I agree that it was frightening and reality bending. Perry's attention to detail is mind-boggling. Also, you kept it light with some funny observations.

  2. Great description of a great show, but I have to point out that the artist's name is Evan Penny, not Evan Perry!!!