Rachel Harrison has festooned the walls and ceiling of the living room gallery with all sorts of flotsam and jetsam, mostly comprised of faux wood paneling, framed photographs of garbage bags, and cans of peas, often times precariously wedged into colorful blobs of paper mache. Though it seems fairly certain she was not paying lip service to the daring, poignant, and hard hitting CK advertisements made up of little boys and girls posed in front of fake wood backgrounds, the association is unavoidable. Nevertheless, the show evinces an all-over sensibility, that smartly utilizes the dignified drawing room atmosphere. The lumpy, distended, blisters of paper mache have an unmistakable dung-like quality, despite their sometimes cheery coloration. In addition, please pardon the crassness, the peas-in-poop sculptures are reminiscent of the childhood fascination with attempting to identify recognizable food stuffs in one's excrement.
Ms. Harrison is clearly a scatologist, collecting our trash bags as if trophies, and, one gets the feeling, freely rummaging through the contents prior to documentation. The bags of garbage, relentlessly photographed and exhibited by the artist over a number of years, are indicative of a sense of decay and oxidation that we experience throughout the course of our lives. Taking out the rubbish, going to the bathroom, scooping up dog shit, are all acts that reflect the inevitable passing of time, albeit in a monotonous, pedestrian, and routine fashion. All in all, the show is a stand-out, in an otherwise lackluster season of sluggish, prosaic art shows. See it. Also, you can't miss the in-your-face charm of the gallerist, but you can miss the hours the space is open to the public: about 45 minutes every Sunday.
Rachel Harrison at ARENA, reviewed by Pam Lins
No one could explain that