Dreadful Sorry Clementine / Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor

Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor
Charlie James Gallery
975 Chung King Road
Los Angeles, CA

Seven large-scale assemblage sculptures by Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor merge the playful with the monstrous, such things not always being as separate and distinctive as one might assume. Textile scraps, especially bedding and carpet remnants (plus a lot of torn cardboard), are piled, glued and screwed onto superstructures built from wood, creating crouched and uncuddly creatures with big feet, muscle-bound legs and oversize heads.

Like a homemade doll morphing into a prehistoric T-rex, the bodily proportions of the beasts, which range from 6 to 8 feet in height, are such that tiny, distended or even absent arms preclude the possibility of a reciprocal embrace. (A few are even crippled, held upright by wooden sticks.) Eye sockets are invariably empty, yielding vacant stares.

For her second Los Angeles solo show and her first at Charlie James Gallery, the Sacramento-based artist riffs on a familiar if rather creepy Western folk ballad for inspiration. The sculptures, collectively titled “Dreadful Sorry Clementine,” refer to a singsong lament in which the death-by-drowning of a young woman is ostensibly leavened by an inescapably lustful appeal to her still-living little sister. The creatures’ flower-bedecked heads only add to a general sense of nausea.

via LA Times

photography by Taiyo Watanabe