Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

A Roll in the Hay at Bellwether Gallery

Written by Melissa Levin
There is a sign on the door of Bellwether Gallery warning the viewer that they are about to encounter a steep ramp. This is the introduction to Daphne Fitzpatrick's first solo show, A Roll in the Hay. At the top of the ramp, one's feet are level with the reception desk, and staring back at eye level is Delphinium Trump, a small wooden whale with a gold coin in its mouth. And then you descend into the gallery. There is, at that moment, the great sense that you have exited one space purposefully and decisively, to enter one entirely new.

There is a sign on the door of Bellwether Gallery warning the viewer that they are about to encounter a steep ramp. This is the introduction to Daphne Fitzpatrick's first solo show, A Roll in the Hay. At the top of the ramp, one's feet are level with the reception desk, and staring back at eye level is Delphinium Trump, a small wooden whale with a gold coin in its mouth. And then you descend into the gallery. There is, at that moment, the great sense that you have exited one space purposefully and decisively, to enter one entirely new.

 With reverence for Surrealism and something of an ode to Paul McCarthy, the viewer experiences a sense of continuous discovery while walking through the show. Fitzpatrick is obviously interested in the performance in daily life, as fake and real food as well as architectural design dominate the short, but abounding, walk through the gallery space. This begins with the daily baguette, a crusty baguette in a window; continues with Delphin darling follows the ship all the way to port, featuring plastic sausages sewn through an oversized glass bottle and a metal counter; boca di veritas, a bunch of fake grapes poking through a hole in the wall; and Tie a Pabst Blue Ribbon around my prize pony Bud, like a mini Claes Oldenburg, a handmade oversized Budweiser can hangs from an extra-large soft six-pack holder.

Fitzpatrick also explores mark-making, from subtle scuffs to huge holes in the wall. She intervened directly into the structure of the gallery, leaving holes in the drywall clear through to next door's bricks. In one piece, Drag Me/Pull Me, the viewer is directed to make his or her own mark by pulling or dragging a sliding mirror along the wall to create a following black line. And that is not to mention her larger investigation of making marks, a more human kind, most manifest in Broadway, an hour long film containing details from the artist's six-day walk covering the entire length of Broadway.

 In a way, like most of the show, the discovery of the video itself—hidden inside Sandmand, a built construction façade complete with its own advertisement imagery—becomes more important than the observations within. Ultimately, A Roll in the Hay is full of delightful non-sequiturs that come together to form a surprising narrative, both about the art-making process and about the generally unexpected.

 


Image Courtesy of Bellwether Gallery, NY

 

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