Mill Valley

Poe Dismuke

Susan Cummins Gallery

Fool-the-eye is the pictorial equivalent of sophisticated doggerel in verse; both play on memory’s expectations, embarrassing the mind in its connective gullibility, its rote ha bits of belief. In the observer’s mind, the intrusion on visual reality seems like child’s play, no matter how painstakingly it has been accomplished by grown-up skill. Accordingly, once the trick is revealed, the observer either dismisses it as a paradox unworthy of an adult’s attention, or submits to childlike wonder, transfixed.

Poe Dismuke’s latest figment-ridden assemblages occasion both wonder and the reminiscence of it, as if wonder were integral with the objects of childhood. Actual-size pieces of rickety furniture—chairs, steamer trunks, a footlocker, an armoire, a tall parrot house—are, as Dismuke has said, “new things that look old.” Their dysfunction as furniture points up their real function as syntactic

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