Aspen Mays


Escape, the sheer exhilaration of chucking it all and getting far, far away, seems much on the mind of Aspen Mays. While this Chicago-based artist never indicates just what she might so assiduously be fleeing, the urge to relocate, physically or psychologically, is suggested in her recent work, and this show offered a witty repertoire of options for getting the hell out of Dodge.

An allusion to space travel surfaces in The Future of the Future (Spaceman), 2009, a photograph of a fictive astronaut made of aluminum foil standing in an aluminum foil–gilded room. Fusing high fantasy and low technology—endless reflections pinball around the crinkly foil; a cardboard-box helmet sits atop the astronaut’s shoulders—Mays creates the sense of a high school science-fair project gone awry. But that doesn’t deflate the curiously iconic nature of the image, which directly refers to planetary escape.

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