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Jonathan S. Allen

The Dollhaus
2005-05-01

Monstrous beauties stalk devastated environments in Jonathan S. Allenís debut solo show. The galleryís usual baroque decoration, bloody babies and red velvet, has been tucked away behind black scrim to place the focus squarely on Allenís grotesque heads. That women are the lynchpin for Allenís dark worldview borders on misogyny is definitely problematic, but it is part of the bizarre narrative of ecocide. Ideas of beauty and objectification are wrapped up in a critique of a desire driven economy fueling war and rapid consumption of resources. Allenís almost brutish perspective of a passive and aggressive Ďmother earthí will undoubtedly offend, but it isnít so different from Henry Dargerís obsession with little girls. At the very least, Allen has started with porn stars and actresses to filter the commercial reality of objectification through a much darker lens than the camera.

—William Powhida
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