Portland

Malia Jensen

Elizabeth Leach Gallery

It’s tempting to characterize Portland-bred, Brooklyn-based artist Malia Jensen’s recent solo show at Elizabeth Leach Gallery as a classic case of the country mouse in the city. Jensen’s work has often trafficked in animal forms, and the shift in iconography from forest creatures to rats and pigeons following the artist’s move from the Northwest to New York two years ago is hard to ignore. But to boil it down thus would be unfair and would discount her work’s wry humor and its lucidly drawn tension between form and content. Sometimes, apparently, the country mouse is just naturally as refined as its metropolitan cousin.

Jensen’s career took off in the early 1990s, when she began making taxidermied forms investigating the dark comedy of death and its display, with undertones of sexual perversity: a deer upholstered in red rubber; an eyeless black rubber doe. In the years since, she has

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