“Thousand Year Old Child”
April 23, 2014
A thousand years later, the eponymous child evoked by this group show has apparently not learned any manners. Participating artists Glen Baldridge, Ian Cooper, and David Kennedy Cutler present an exhibition that personifies our unwavering pursuit of eternal youth—that crown jewel of vivacity we feverishly crave (as evidenced by today’s abundant health-food supplements, probiotic treatments, and quick over-the-counter cures). Astutely, the twenty-eight works on view—sculptures, prints, and installations—have all anticipated the dystrophic consequences of pursuing the unobtainable.
As if this child had been anticipating our arrival for ages, Baldridge’s crooked and bowed Blinds, 2014, hung on Planthouse’s doors, are suspiciously ruffled, as if by some adolescent peeping Tom. Once inside, the viewer is assaulted by anarchic visual references to vomit, amputated limbs, erections, fistfights, and bloody knuckles. Left to his or her (although probably his) own devices, it seems this child has placed the gallery in a state of chic disarray. Take David Kennedy Cutler’s sculpture series “Commodity,” 2014, which is presented on the floor in the first gallery as discarded limbs with faded tattoos—extremities carefully sculpted from tree branches, Permalac, and a progressive inkjet-on-aluminum process.
In a second room, Ian Cooper’s oversized and Oldenburgesque sculptures are executed with a refreshing irreverence. Expertly produced works titled Missing (nude Tinkerbell) and Missing (briefs) (both 2014) come together as a stylized milk carton, and while they appear simply tossed into the gallery like rubbish, their sheer monumentality and references to the body achieve an uncanny resonance. Framed on a nearby wall, Baldridge’s meticulous trio of panties, I cannot lie, 2012, recalls the colors of Neapolitan ice cream, and is made with cast cotton and handmade paper, which illustrate—through numerous sags and wrinkles—undesired signs of aging. Despite the bubblegum palette, these works prompt an all-but-gentle reminder: Vanity is among the most fleeting of phenomena, anchored to the obstinate and impartial burden of time.