los-angeles

Joel Otterson

Margo Leavin Gallery

The collision of material and stylistic referents animates Joel Otterson’s sculptures. The eight 1989 works shown here are quite absurd variations on common domestic objects, done in the artist’s best industrial baroque manner In their exuberant oddness, they demonstrate their maker’s jovial disdain for anything like an unforced unity, either of substance or style. Otterson likes to oppose the social and historical meaning of a pattern or decorative effect to the material on which it appears. He also sets up oppositions of form and function through such constructive maneuvers as nestling small appliances or pieces of furniture within ornate armatures; these objects appear to embellish but actually subvert the function of the structures that support them.

The mahogany tea table in Dead Or Alive/Teacart Museum has been fitted with a propane gas burner, on which a teakettle is kept at a boil.

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