New York

Ed McGowin

Brooks Jackson Gallery Iolas

ED McGOWIN’s recent exhibition consisted of a small group of sculptures, which he calls “inscapes,” and related drawings. Inscapes involve painting and sculpture, the object, tableau, performance, story-telling, and conceptual/autobiographical investigations. Drawing on his experience as painter and sculptor, McGowin makes each inscape both a highly pictorial and a constructed affair. Children’s Piece, for one, is a three-dimensional pyramid with a two-tiered enamel tile base, consisting of bright contrasting colors—blues, reds, greens—and wood and plaster sides. It contains colored plexiglass insets, discreetly distributed on the surface, which open onto the actual inscapes—short, I guess, for interior landscapes. Inside are various objects symbolic of childhood, including a teacup and saucer for little girls and an airplane for little boys. And, drawing perhaps on his experience with “happenings” and performance art, McGowin has located the insets in sections which require the viewer to stretch, bend, and even kneel in order to get a glimpse at the inscapes. Other works are more overtly narrative. One inscape deals with gun control; it is a tableau/documentary story of a robbery and its consequences. And, in Divorce, the implications of a broken relationship and family ties are treated in similar detail; again McGowin uses objects and photographs to get his point across. With these works McGowin is playing with our curiosity regarding the hidden interiors of things, our fear of missing anything, and our fascination with the miniature. Still, the question is whether or not we want to play his games.

Ronny Cohen