Monday, April 27, 2009

King, Lang, Pieri and Zuspan at the Front

In its brief history, The Front has become known as a showcase of consistently quirky and provocatively paradoxical artworks, and the current expo is no exception. Morgana King's SUCK IT wall installation is emblematic, a large and delirious visual meditation on pervasive oral fixations. Inspired by summertime barflies sucking on cold libations as well as spring weddings and maternity wards, its pastel conical and nipple-like forms comprise a rhapsodic bas-relief of polymorphous associations infused with “the seasonal urgency” of blooming buds. Regarding which, King says, “Sit back and relax; I entreat you to either lay upon a cloud of titties or suck it.”
Holger Lang's TOAST & CHAMPAGNE is a visual rumination on the spiritual dimensions of inner space--psychic as well as physical—in the form of colorful collages and videos based on figures from myth, history and fantasy, all surrounding a spooky sort of altar where a pair of disembodied manikin hands hang amid a loopy web of string. The overall installation suggests a cerebral spider web where artifacts of cultural history are accumulated instead of dead flies, and it's about as precisely, and unsettlingly, executed.
Julie Pieri's DELICIOUS series of collages cobbled from the Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library—plastic-sealed recipes on cards in file boxes—is almost reassuring, but there's something unsettling about all those luridly colored food photos sliced, diced and remixed into images like demonic rhinestone-studded carrots hovering over orgiastic spreads of Betty Crocker specialties--macaroni, meatloaf, deviled eggs-- an infernal display of Middle American culinary diabolism.
Strange as it sounds, Laura Zuspan's EXOASTROALIENOLOGY series of ink paintings inspired by space aliens is oddly familiar, which may be her point. Like mythic beings who came to visit and made themselves at home, space aliens now coexist with the other familiar icons of our pop culture--just as these four shows, each equally inviting and off-putting, meld their own unique flavors into the yeasty St. Claude avenue mix. ~D. Eric Bookhardt

New Work by Morgana King, Holger Lang, Julie Pierie and Laura Zuspan
Through May 2
The Front, 4100 St. Claude Avenue
Expanded from Gambit

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