Gift Wrapped 2016

The Clutter Gallery‘s annual holiday exhibition returns, with works for Gift Wrapped 2016 completely filling the small showcase space. Intended to exhibit affortable art pieces just prior to the end of the year’s seasonal shopping, it provides a fantastic cash and carry opportunity for those seeking a last minute piece to place under the ol’ tree, regardless of it’s for themselves or someone else.
The single window display and wall of the space was crammed with over 100 works by 46 artists, most of whom we’ve come to expect in association with the Clutter Gallery. Featuring a new edition of Scott Wilkowski‘s Bedtime Wilkowski (see review here) alongside a small number of Peter Kato‘s original Bedtime Bunnie form, there was a wide swath of aesthetic options for collectors, from the monstrous (Rampage Toys) to the adorable (twelveDot). But even amongst this impressive array, a handful of works impressed me above and beyond…

Lisa Rae Hansen’s Babycakes Dunnys

Inspired by her original Babycakes (2013) figurine, Lisa Rae Hansen‘s trio of modified and hand-painted Dunny forms were (left to right) Babycakes Goes Pop! — Pink, Babycakes Bunny Dunny, and Babycakes Goes Pop! — Black. Reimagining the bunny-like form as a young girl wearing street smart clothing, including a hoodie with the ears, the cleanly crafted hair and spherical bubble of gum easily steal one’s attention. But the true standout feature is on the backside, which includes the simple 5¢ announcement similar to the iconic Bazooka Bubble Gum packaging.
Lisa Rae Hansen's Babycakes Dunnys from Gift Wrapped 2016 at The Clutter GalleryThese are reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s The Personality of the Artist (1964) Stable Gallery exhibition works, namely his reimagining of packaging boxes — like Kellogg’s corn flakes, Brillo soap pads, Mott’s apple juice, Del Monte peaches, and Heinz ketchup — as sculptures. But instead of Hansen furthering Warhol’s philosophical question on the nature of art, these don’t present the commercial object proper as the sculpture. Instead, they explore the culture that has evolved from Warhol’s sentiment, how commercial culture and pop culture have collided, how the elements from one have snuck their way into the other. And the simple proclamation of “Pop!” on two of them has a brilliant duality, referencing not only the cartoonish sound we imagine a bursting bubble of gum making but also the shorthand for popular in both culture and art.

Stitch of Whimsy’s Happy Holi-deer

There’s something magical about Stitch of Whimsy‘s Happy Holi-deer hand-sewn work of faux taxidermy. Instead of embracing the morbidity inherent with this style, the artist rails against the convention and produces a thoroughly adorable work, one that feels complete as is. Beyond which, this white deer has more than a twinkle and glimmer in its doe eyes…
Adorned with a plastic rabbit, two wood penguins, and colorful model trees atop its head, it has a world within a world upon it. One can’t help but wonder if, under the magnifying gaze of a microscope, there wouldn’t be more tiny creatures adorning the head of the rabbit and so on.

Tasha Zimich’s Fauno & Cat Atomic’s pieces

While the works of Tasha Zimich and Cat Atomic might, on the surface, appear dissimilar, I love how the gallery opted to place them together for this exhibition. Both concerned with the visceral nature of being, their different approaches make the perfect parallels to one another. Zimich’s Fauno is decorated with the artist’s painterly feel, the expressive eyes and overall blue coloration denoting an all-too-human sadness while the subtle smirk relays a hopefulness.
Cat Atomic’s two pieces, the Atomic Cotton Candy and smaller Atomic Lavender, rely heavily on expressive line work and color gradiations to convey their message. Revealing the skeletal structure one might find beneath the form, the immediate connection to mortality and death gives way to how the flowing lines, so full of life, encompass the whole.

Falcontoys’ A Very Slimer the Hutt Christmas

More of a purely pop culture mash-up, FalcontoysA Very Slimer the Hutt Christmas is a one-of-a-kind painted version of the artist’s previous Slimer the Hutt (2016) edition piece. As with the original, this work transforms the likeness of the Star Wars universe character Jabba the Hutt into a bloated interpretation of Slimer from Ghostbusters. Jabba’s throne room dias is included, the decorative Abyssin ornaments replaced with terror dog heads. And while this is a truly fun creation, this holiday-themed version has the ghost’s teeth painted in a variety of colors, mimicking the appearance of Christmas lights. It’s a surreal touch that evolves the piece from strict pop parody into a cultural commentary, showing the ease that something can rebranded for seasonal sales.

Further images from Gift Wrapped 2016

Having had its opening reception on Saturday, December 10th from 6-9pm, all unsold works in this exhibition will remain on display until January 6th, 2016 at the gallery’s physical location (163 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for the exhibition

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