Iconic and lovely Louise Bourgeois once said, “The feminists took me as a role model, as a mother. It bothers me. I am not interested in being a mother. I am still a girl trying to understand myself.”
Likewise, one might suggest that the soft and silicone rubber sculptures of Michelle Carla Handel, collected here, are conceptually doing something similar, but with a splash of Claes Oldenburg’s wit and color pop.
Each piece feels intriguingly pubescent: exploring the grotesque softness of bodies and gender through seemingly pliable forms that physically confuse or bend out of shape, emotionally heaving with discovery and wear.
Chris Jones creates sculptures composed of fragmented images from magazines and used books that are beautiful, frightening, and exquisitely detailed: a macabre headless horse, a 19th century stagecoach, a disheveled TV.
For his recent solo show at Marc Straus, Jones worked in New York and was interested in the history of the Lower Eastside and this specific gallery space. Based on his impressions, he created a fantastical trading post replete with sundry items such as shovels, bear heads, and lamps echoing this area’s early 19th century and this building’s evolution from a tenement to a store for varied immigrant trades. It is also an homage to THE STORE that Claes Oldenburg opened nearby in 1961, selling his food-like handmade Paper Mache objects.
Jones’ work mimics the way in which we assimilate and process the world using our own personal histories and memories as a base to develop new connections. Jones has called on his own memories (through an art historic lens) and the viewers are in turn prompted to call upon their past to create their own personal stories as they relate to these wondrous pieces.