Richard Jackson breaks a 20-year fast from solo gallery exhibitions in Los Angeles with an invigorating, over-the-top painting installation. Painting is asserted as delirious madness, as worthwhile for its irrational folly as for any more ostensibly sober reason.
At David Kordansky Gallery, Jackson built a large room from stretched canvas and painted the interior perimeter with a pastiche of Frank Stella's über-rational, late-1960s and early-1970s Minimalist "protactor" paintings. In the room's center, a life-size pink unicorn -- stock symbol of purity and grace -- is balanced upside down on its horn. Steadied by a doll-like sculpture of a little girl sporting a yellow smiley face and a Dutch worker's wooden clogs, they twirl on a mirrored turntable like some silent, diabolical music box.
Red, yellow and blue paint has sprayed from the unicorn's nether regions to splatter everything in sight. That includes an oversize jack-in-the-box, a clown sprawled inside an open closet, a rocking horse and a big, stunned baby. These elements, which recall sculptures by Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, elaborate themes of supposed childhood innocence that Jackson lampoons. A fury of raucous play lurks inside the claims of artlessness, just bursting to be unleashed.
© Ruth Zoe Andreas, all rights reserved