Critics’ Picks

Laurie Hogin, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Diorama with Rozerem and Black Alligators), 2008, oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 84".

New York

Laurie Hogin

Schroeder Romero & Shredder
531 West 26th Street
November 13 - January 10

The creatures in Laurie Hogin’s masterful and allegorical oil paintings have fur that resembles that found in chipper and cheap children’s toys. But while the synthetic coats of those plush animals are often the result of noxious chemicals and international politics not associated with the carefree fantasies of kiddie consumers, Hogin’s mutant menagerie does not hide the diseased origins of their unnatural appearance. The Illinois-based artist deploys her remarkable talent for still-life and animal imagery to offer sharp and salient commentary on contemporary consumer politics. Her current focus is the unhealthy progeny of the health industry. “Monkey Brains,” Hogin’s solo show of new paintings at Schroeder Romero, is on view in tandem with “Neurmantic Evening, Psychotropical Paradise” at Littlejohn Contemporary, another exhibition of her latest works. Both shows explore the role that psychopharmacology plays in shaping our behavior and influencing our moral decisions. In the former, freaky primates hold guns in their paws, have dazed expressions, and scream in obvious angst. The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Diorama with Rozerem and Black Alligators), 2008, depicts a packed landscape populated by sumptuously detailed Day-Glo reptiles, finely feathered birds, and beasts with tortured expressions that all congregate amid little white Rozerem sleeping pills. In What Ails Us: The 100 Most-Prescribed Pharmaceuticals in the Nation, 2008, she presents an installation of one hundred small oil-on-panel portraits of mutant guinea pigs with tortured, rabid features and radioactive coats. These animals represent human pill poppers experimenting with their bodies, health, and sanity, as well as their doctors’ potentially reckless gaze.

This exhibition is also on view at Littlejohn Contemporary, 245 East Seventy-second Street, until January 3.