Critics’ Picks

Amy Stober, New Jersey, 2021, cast polyurethane, glitter, acrylic paint, 14 x 15 x 8".

Amy Stober, New Jersey, 2021, cast polyurethane, glitter, acrylic paint, 14 x 15 x 8".

Baltimore

Amy Stober

Springsteen
422 S Highland Avenue
July 3–August 7, 2021

Much has been done with unconventional painting supports, yet the fourteen wall-mounted works in Amy Stober’s assured solo debut resuscitate the idiom in a number of clever and kinky ways. The artist’s primary material is polyurethane resin, which she casts from handbags found in those titillating repositories for unloved effluvia, thrift stores and eBay. Their leathery exteriors are oddly sensual, like the surface of a new dildo. But these protuberant forms—whose openings face the wall as if, lampreylike, they’re suctioned to it—don’t aim to please. In fact, they’re perplexing as hell, especially when one registers the painted vignettes adorning their bottoms or sides.

A key piece in this show (and the only one accentuated by glitter) is New Jersey (all works 2021), whose title alludes to where the Baltimore-based Stober grew up and thereby clues us in to a more personal lexicon at play. Its underside reveals a vase atop a turntable, a refrigerator tucked into the corner of her parents’ kitchen, and the gleaming rim of a bathroom sink rendered in delicate strokes of toxic green and smoky purple. The three tableaux are stacked and arranged vertically like panels in a comic book. Elsewhere, we find similar configurations of household scenes emblazoned along the works’ protruding underbellies. Take Organizers and Music Station (BMG Pipes): The former allows us a peek into the artist’s closet, which is brimming with garments and other items, while the latter shows hi-fi stereo equipment reflected in the shiny wooden floor of Stober’s living room. The relationship between picture and object feels pliable, as if the images were swappable, like stickers from a childhood album. Yes, the artworks flaunt their spatial facticity, but even more, they remain caught in a deliciously bizarre confluence of painting, sculpture, and fashion accessory.