Critics’ Picks

Elizabeth Zvonar, Marcel Meets Judy, 2013, ceramic candy dish, 10 x 5”.

Elizabeth Zvonar, Marcel Meets Judy, 2013, ceramic candy dish, 10 x 5”.


Elizabeth Zvonar

Daniel Faria Gallery
188 St Helens Avenue
May 15–June 15, 2013

“Banal Baroque,” Elizabeth Zvonar’s current exhibition of sculpture and collage, riffs on themes of bodily and sexual excess, recontextualizing mass-produced objects, magazine advertisements, and mannequin parts to animate the uncanny treatment of the human figure that lies dormant in this source material. While her juxtapositions might recall the psychically charged scenes of Surrealist and Dadaist collage (particularly Hannah Höch), in Zvonar’s work the human body is truncated and interrupted, broken down into a series of useless but fascinating objects for visual consumption.

Marcel Meets Judy, 2013, for instance, features a mass-produced pink seashell candy dish. Turned upright so it is no longer functional, and mounted to the wall, the work is a cheeky homage both to Marcel Duchamp’s readymades and to Judy Chicago’s porcelain vagina-flowers in The Dinner Party, 1974–79. The fictional meeting of these two art-historical figures suggests a sexual undertone to this banal form of domestic decoration.

In Zvonar’s series of collage works, the artist manipulates imagery from art history textbooks, contemporary fashion magazines, and Conaissance des arts, an antiques and luxury goods magazine produced in Paris in the 1970s. In one of these large-scale collages, The Spectre, The Serpent, The Ghost, The Thing, 2012, body parts act as supplements, functioning as literal supports for the two-dimensional image. Featuring a reclining female figure being eerily surveyed by a ghostly creature, Zvonar’s handmade collage is made stranger by its frame: A pair of gold-plated high-heeled shoes, fused with casts of two human thumbs, physically holds the image upright, leaning it against the gallery wall. Here, as in the rest of the exhibition, body parts are always at risk of being transformed into the kind of kitsch consumer objects that the artists uses as her sources.