Critics’ Picks

David Hevel, It's Official. . .  Britney's Pregnant! (detail),  2005.

David Hevel, It's Official. . . Britney's Pregnant! (detail), 2005.

San Francisco

“Beautiful Debris”

Heather Marx Gallery
77 Geary Street
July 21–August 20, 2005

As the capitalist dreams of plenty are being dashed by dwindling oil supplies and questionable international trade treaties, an aesthetic of neo-baroque excess seems both pertinent and appealing. In this three-person exhibition, the decorative takes on an irresistible dark side. David Hevel’s work, the show’s highlight, effectively picks up Jeff Koons’s bourgeois Pop-baroque torch with two oversized floral arrangements that are shrines to cheesy pop divas Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears. While those media darlings are referenced with skinny, wig-wearing greyhound figures, the sculptures more insistently channel the grotesque supersize impulses of McMansionism. Hevel’s copious use of realistic silk blossoms and classy vases would go unnoticed in a pre-fab manse or upscale mall-restaurant lobby, save for the aberrant elements lurking within—a lactating deer, a wasp nest, shiny cockroaches, and even a ferocious animal head camouflaged by posies. The pieces by the other artists are aesthetically too similar (and ultimately less insistent) than Hevel’s, but they do summon the pleasures of excess. Tara Giannini gets it in her soiled-princess grottos with cake-frosting paint application and Cristina Lei Rodriguez with a little bouquet of artichokes caught in a murky web of netting and unidentifiable muck.