Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jasmyne Graybill

Jasmyne Graybill - Soap-Cracked Fan-TailDrain stop, polymer clay - 4” x 3” x 3”2008
My art review repost in Austin for January 2012

When encountering Jasmyne Graybill's sculptures, I had a urge to call the health inspector. I have never been equally repulsed and seduced by art until I encountered Graybill's work, but her "Home Sweat Home" show at Women and Their Work is something to behold.

I could have sworn these art works were real molds and lichens, but really these sculptures are polymer clay. Knowing the material doesn’t seem to remove my psychosomatic response to feeling a little sick, but I shook the feeling off so I could enjoy the amazing colors and details Graybill was able to accomplish in these works. She has found an inherent beauty in these imaginary molds and lichens which I now find easy to appreciate. I think the power of the work is that you feel as if the polymer clay objects are not through growing. These works could overtake not only the objects they have made home, but the tables, walls, and anything else sitting around will be next. Like a city rapidly growing into urban sprawl.

I think Graybill proves that decay and disease can be beautiful. I understand she was
influenced by her sick students bringing colds and flu to school and then watching the students touching everything and spreading their germs. Graybill imaged what these germs would look like if they became visible. I am sure Graybill has visited a few biology labs. From peaking in my brother’s biology lab when he was a graduate student, I remember how colorful and complex the petri dishes could get. Although some of the things growing were particularly nasty. For example, images of microscopic cancer cells are often rich with colors and wild shapes, but sublimely beautiful. I remember Scott Barber made paintings based off of his own cancer cells, before he past. Graybill is tapping into the feeling of immediate danger, but no less existential.

Jasmyne Graybill’s show will be up until January 5th, so you have a little more time to see this work that will give you mixed emotions. Personally, I like the mixed feels I got from the show. Great art has to not only capture and keep your attention, but make you think about your own existence in some way.

My art review repost in Austin for January 2012

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