Tucked on the south side of 670 West, Plug Projects opened its doors to two shows working in tandem to construct a narrative of girlhood, and ultimately, motherhood. Plug is known for bringing in out of town artists, but now have expanded their back gallery space to exclusively exhibit local solo exhibitions. Julie Farstad, whose practice can best be described as a surrealist hybrid of embroidery, painting, and installation, was able to use this space first for her solo exhibition, Under The Orange Sky. The front space of Plug was dominated by the work of mixed media installations and paintings by Crista Donner, an
artist from Chicago who utilizes the female form in narratives about our relation to home and the notion of the colony in HOM/E\MBODY.
The entire show at Plug refers to the notion of storytelling and the capturing of dreams. In Donner’s work, surreal scenes are isolated into ornate paintings that could fit in the palm of a hand and constructed as parts to a whole installation. Donner’s use and denial of the edge of her creations is key. Cut paper works, reminiscent of Swoon, hearken the sense of fragility within these works as small pieces to be discovered. The dream-like non-linear flow of storytelling in Donner’s pieces corresponds perfectly to that of the work of Julie Farstad.
Although a wall and a drastic change in paint color separates Farstad from Donner, the surreal use of space continues. Instantly, two blindfolded dolls contextualize the work with the idea that “we are sleeping,” and the works — paintings and painstaking embroideries — act like glass lenses to the subconscious of a child. While the dolls in the spaces of Farstad’s work seem extremely lonely, the way that they dominate the composition gives them a real sense of power and control over the situations they are
placed in. Mountains and clay-like objects in the landscape operate with the color palette to create an absolutely surreal “non-world” for us to delight in entering.
This show of bad ass female mastery of medium and storytelling is up at Plug projects until June 22nd 2014 and is on view from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays. For more info on this show or on Plug Projects, visit plugprojects.com