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Animal Faith


A caustic orange twist of toothpicks, like a Chinese Finger Trap, is affixed to the subjects nose. Hanging in silent resignation to this predicament, his bronzed countenance suggests awareness that to struggle against this material would only tighten its hold. Though the title “The academic” gives a glimpse into the meaning of this sculpture and the concerns of the larger exhibition, the artwork assembled here is anything but.

On view through May 24th at the Hogar Collection (362 Grand St.), “Animal Faith” showcases an engaging assortment of sketches and sculptures by Michael Behle. The works on display explore the distinction between cognition and insight. This epistemological modus is indicated throughout by the repeated use of a tangle of brilliantly colored pick-up sticks. Whether orbiting figures like thought bubbles or adorning them like millinery, the employment of this visual lexicon is outstanding in that it represents perfectly the synaptic lattice of thought, both internalized and projected.

“Learning to fall” depicts a skier mid-jump, top heavy and weighted/floating from a dirigible-like preponderance of theory, practice and technique. Alluding to the fraternal processes of nature and nurture, “The dreamer” depicts an R&B artist with architectural balloon fists in a pugilist stance. His eyes are replaced by mirrored ovals, a psychological punch that secures our participation, both literal and figurative.

We ingest information and spit out viewpoints. We project our expectations as surely as we cobble our concepts of self. The result is a ball of confusion to one and a faceted jewel to another.

—Enrico Gomez