philadelphia

View of “Ann Agee.” From left: Orange Room 1, 2008; Orange Room 2, 2010.

Ann Agee

Locks Gallery

View of “Ann Agee.” From left: Orange Room 1, 2008; Orange Room 2, 2010.

Ann Agee has intricately painted the inside of a toilet, made ceramic dildos (one even doubles as a napkin ring), and slaughtered a chicken on video. In comparison to those works, her recent show, “Rules of the Pattern,” felt tame, but it exposed the heart of her provocative thirty-year practice. On opposite walls of the gallery, huge paintings on scrolls of mulberry paper unfurled to the floor, bracketing the solemn exhibition space with the illusion of a colorful, unpopulated kitchen and living room, part Maira Kalman, part van Gogh. On adjacent walls, blue-and-white porcelain serving dishes arrayed on steel armatures also conjured empty domestic space. Where did everybody go? The images painted on the plates in Gross Domestic Product, 2010, suggest private labor (a sewing machine, a washing machine) and leisure (a TV, a patio). In each of the other porcelain wall works (both

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