Doreen Garner (2017)

Editor: Benjamin Sutton

Visitors entering Outpost Artists Resources in Ridgewood will first come across a ceramic bathtub placed atop a wooden dolly. Inside, a tangle of ribbed, flesh-toned silicone tubes steeps in a bath of clear liquid. The work “(discarded objects) for Disposed to Add” (2017)—by turns evocative of umbilical cords, industrial hoses, intestinal canals, and a den of snakes—is by Jes Fan, one of eight artists featured in a group exhibition curated by artist Doreen Garner. Titled Stranger Things, the show is loosely predicated on notions of the uncanny, asserting that the pieces on view (like Fan’s synthetic coils) ground familiar references to the body in foreign and unsettling contexts. The 19 works included—which range from sculpture and painting to video and photography—harmonize in this register, but isolated readings reveal distinct anxieties that also operate independently of the overarching theme.

The de facto centerpiece of the exhibition is Erik Ferguson’s video piece, “Untitled Video Compilation” (2017), which stars an animated cast of fleshy orifices expelling lumps of delicate tissue, skinned phalluses dangling aloft, and unidentifiable creatures swelling and squirming. Stripped of their integumentary systems (skin, hair, and various other external organs), these amorphous subjects indiscriminately repel, endear, or both, depending on the viewer’s disposition. Connecting with these characters becomes a matter of looking past the surface to see interior markers of subjectivity—a prompt that carries over to the surrounding works. Tamara Santibañez’s grisaille landscapes, two of which flank Ferguson’s video piece, support this reading. Both paintings depict the artist’s leather jacket in sensuous detail, and belong to a series that Santibañez describes in her artist statement as “a form of self-portraiture.” Here, the artist considers the object, and her intimate relationship with it, as a viable surrogate for representing herself.

Read the full review on Hyperallergic.