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Within The Menagerie

Front Room Gallery
2009-06-01

Outside the small but well proportioned Grace Space, the Front Room Gallery plays host to Melissa Pokorny’s wonderful and elusive sculptures. These humorous constructions have a slippery materiality; what looks in one sculpture like a brick wall is actually digital prints held together by aluminum sheeting, in another, resin goo oozes out as though the sculpture was leaking. There is a conflict between real and fake, solid and liquid, living and inert, that plays itself out in the most pleasing way in these complex works. Often involving kitschy (and perfectly deployed) animal sculptures that are mute stand-ins for the real thing, and other surrogates and images of natural material, the works both mock and replace the natural world, the opposite of a monument yet with the sadness intact. Julia Whitney Barnes’ installation, La Jardinière, in the larger back gallery deals with nature as a mediated experience. Inspired by gardens, parks and other urban nature setting, the work has an abstract and soothing rhythm. Made of collected natural items as well as man made facsimiles, there is a humming tension between nature and its representations. —Dylan Peet

—Dylan Peet
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