OFFSpace’s inaugural exhibition at Art Engine Gallery in San Francisco, CA featured three artists playing with dolls- making them, becoming them or just watching them.
Sara Harrell-Lai, Victor Barbieri, and Goody-B. Wiseman explored the margins of this childish pre-occupation exhibit works both playful and alarming.
Victor Barbieri’s ultra slow motion videos of young girls sleeping capture in vivid detail the childish, doll-like perfection embodied in his passive subjects. Visceral and engrossing, innocent and disturbing, these pieces elicit strong reactions. The subversive power of these gorgeous images puts a twist on the age-old relationship between the artist/viewer and the model/subject. Derived from her museum of a fictitious colony of feral children, Pentegoet Park: The Terrible Ones, Goody-B. Wiseman’s small bronze sculptures conjure dark places we’d rather not acknowledge—The Beastly Baby meets Aesop’s Fables. The museum of feral children documents the terrifying voyage of children living in a natural state of grace with their adoptive animal parents to their capture and horrible experiences of re-socialization. The feral children’s experiences stand in for all forms of oppression in our society with its mania for homogenization. These perfectly charming little ” collectables” immortalize the feral children from the back woods of Wiseman’s post-Gothic imagination. Sarah Harreld-Lai creates a frothy pink dream-life for herself as a doll. Collecting life-size doll-world accoutrements for herself and living the part, Harreld-Lai becomes her own play-thing. Large format digital photographs document this imaginary made manifest world thus turning Harreld-Lai into your play-thing as well. Referencing ideas of artistic persona, the real, and luxe toy catalogs, Harreld-Lai’s newest works perversely ride the line between oppressive normative expectations and celebration of the imaginative and playful impulse.