“I Am Silver”

Foxy Production
2 East Broadway, 200
June 26, 2016–July 29, 2016

Justin Vivian Bond, My Barbie Coloring Book, 2014, watercolor on archival paper, 14 1/2 x 11 1/2''.

The lovely and occasionally creepy figurative paintings by six intriguing artists take shade beneath the curatorial parasol of a Sylvia Plath poem. “I Am Silver,” the show’s title, is borrowed from the first line of “Mirror,” in which the poet assumes the titular object’s dispassionate voice. With sly, mounting despair, she/it narrates the waning of a woman’s desirability. Beauty and its cruel, ridiculous genderedness might be the metasubject here. In Plath’s tradition, the works on view mourn, satirize, cheapen, or resent beauty, or make it horrifying, without utterly eradicating it.

Chelsea Culprit’s Watermelon Crawl, 2016, is a funny, unsettling iteration of art-class Surrealism in a punchy Lisa Frank palette. Lavender lips hover on a damaged canvas while a disembodied arm boasts a watermelon-patterned, bubble-fingered hand opposite a green talon. Kiki Kogelnik contributes an exhilarating monster-woman in Untitled, ca. 1972. She’s got bedroom eyes and a pinup pout, but her face is striped in candy colors, with crimson spines sprouting from a head of helmet hair. Becky Kolsrud’s girls are phantoms—her druggy, Kilimnikesque faces peer wistfully though lattices. Justin Vivian Bond’s meticulous diptychs are full of mysterious longing: Bond pairs self-portraits with reverential homages to the iconic Estee Lauder model Karen Graham, both of them styled identically. Sojourner Truth Parsons presents a cool, grubby take on Matisse’s buoyant compositions in the forbiddingly titled The same rope that pulls you will hang you his and hers edition I, 2016. An angular bright-pink nude floats in a collaged environment, with a wonderfully nonchalant, dingy daub-y white poodle in the foreground. Anna Glantz dramatizes another common thread—the mirror as hallucinatory springboard. Her painted pastiches—sci-fi scenarios suggesting time travel and other worlds—are more views through the looking glass than renderings or distortions of its reflections.

Johanna Fateman