Artillery Magazine Pick of the Week: MORPH

Annabel Osberg, Artillery Magazine, December 19, 2019

“Celebrate the Bizarre,” urges the header on postcards for “Morph” at Mash Gallery; and the 12 artists in this show surely do. More specifically, they revel in distorting human form for metaphoric and emotive effect. Heads are sundered, patched and obliterated; bodies float, contort, and mutate into things that may or may not be human. In Erik Mark Sandberg‘s portrayals, skin turns to radioactive pink spaghetti; but that doesn’t stop the protagonist of Sky with Leopard Print Tee and Boots (2011) from sporting nifty fashions. Creepy doll-like faces emerge in 3D relief from Haleh Mashian‘s expressionistic paintings of inscrutable goddesses; with morbid pulchritude, works such as Galene, Goddess of Calm Seas (2019) question Greco-Roman conceptions of female deities as archetypes of beauty. Molly Morning-Glory‘s two-faced ceramic bust, You, Me, We (2018), brings to mind how individuals’ self-images are shaped by the gaze of others; nearby, Jayne Anita Smith‘s figures lose their volition and devolve into gobs of mud, clay or paint. Most viscerally disturbing are Serge Serum‘s paintings influenced by his upbringing in violent neighborhoods. I’m not sure what’s going on in Possessed at Harms Length (2019, pictured above), but I don’t think I want to be; and I certainly wouldn’t want to be there.