Joel Otterson

Michael Solway Gallery

Joel Otterson’s recent show opened with a real garage door whose redwood panels and metal hardware had been entirely covered with a pressure-sealed, digitized color photograph (made in collaboration with Tom Allison) depicting his lush garden in Kentucky. With this oddly paradoxical door, which was at once solid and penetrable, utilitarian and visionary, the artist informed us that he’s getting out of the house and back to nature—moving from funky furniture extravaganzas to works that achieve a kind of horticultural expressionism. The Garden Door, 1996, set the stage for this transition, door and photograph fusing to suggest a narrative.

There has always been a virile domesticity to Otterson’s sculpture, which until now has consisted of reinvented household objects. Beds, vanities, coffee tables, refrigerators, and jukeboxes are fabricated from a variety of discarded materials: copper

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