Critics’ Picks

View of “NEO-PAGAN BITCH-WITCH!,” 2016.

View of “NEO-PAGAN BITCH-WITCH!,” 2016.



Evelyn Yard
51 Blenheim Crescent
February 11–March 20, 2016

As if assembled by a whirlpool of dead matter, Tamara Henderson and Julia Feyrer’s sculpture System of the Hag, 2016, is a ragpicker’s fantasy. For this group exhibition, Henderson and Feyrer have cooked up a witches’ brew of disparate objects within a lattice of frayed rope. Dyed fabric, egg cartons, pinecones, berry LEDs, salt, a glass bottle—and so much more!—are entwined within textured cords, copper wire, and plastic tubing. At the apex of this assemblage is a spiraling green disco light, its faint glimmer skipping along this sculpture’s spangled surface. Perhaps the closest formal equivalents to this duo’s work are those innumerable tangled collections of rope, seaweed, and garbage often found stranded in the tide pools and on beaches of the Pacific Northwest. Henderson and Feyrer’s version, however, looks as if it were stained by radioactive seaweed more luminous than salty.

System of the Hag is made up of the flotsam and jetsam of time—part wreckage, part cast-off material—dilated by a shifting kaleidoscope of stuff. Their work should not be confused with The Mighty Boosh’s (2003–2007) Old Gregg even though they are cut from the same cloth, so to speak: a bricolage of maritime materials with a general irreverence toward social conventions (or, to a less jaundiced eye, a sincere romantic sensibility). Like the title of the exhibition, Henderson and Feyrer’s work is positioned as act of reclamation—a recuperation of lost traditions as well as abandoned matter.

Lucy Stein’s Tools for amateur witchcraft, 2015, takes eight painted ceramic tiles as the ground for a votive offering. Above Stein’s painting sits Urara Tsuchiya’s Untitled, 2015, nine small ceramic bowls whose interiors depict sex acts, one of which appears to be a man and a dolphin, bumpin’. In this strange light, one can imagine the neo-pagan object in an orgiastic state—rising, falling, sweating, entwining—a flurry of bodies and matter in an agitated, and amorous, strain of magic.