Magazine article Artforum International

Polly Apfelbaum: MICHAEL BENEVENTO

Magazine article Artforum International

Polly Apfelbaum: MICHAEL BENEVENTO

Article excerpt

Polly Apfelbaum's "Feelies"-- an ongoing series of small, unfired polymer-clay sculptures that the artist began during her Yaddo residency in 2010--point to a handful of cultural references, namely the midcentury abstractions of painter Paul Feeley, the "feelie" vessels created by potter Rose Cabat, and the proto-indie rock of the Feelies. The title of this show; "Double Nickels on the Dime," was also referential, having been taken from an album by West Coast hardcore band Minutemen that, in turn riffs on a song by former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar. Such layers of knowledge could be followed to variously poetic and amusing ends, but Apfelbaum's "Feelies" are formally compelling in their own right, pleasurable, suggestive little objects, even without such cultural baggage.

Each smaller than a square foot and made from colorful arrangements of polymer clay pressed flat, the 112 "Feelies" in this show could be as effectively identified by their compositions as by the particular materials each evoked, including felt, flannel, insulation material, shag carpet, childi en's craft supplies, sliced Spam, smashed sushi, chewed bubble gum, and a 2-D dish of caviar. Already vivid eye candy, the works appeared particularly confection-like, laid out as they were on individual squares of waxed paper as if waiting to be ingested. Although free of any intentional ties to the processes or complicated "craft" histories of ceramics, the small decorative works could be described as Pop-y approximations of traditional slipware, Apfelbaum having used commercial molding clays such as Sculpey, Fimo, and Plasticine to fashion their wild variety of stripes, dots, and odd patterns. Yet (as material like Sculpey might suggest) the flat molded works were one step removed from traditional sculpture, more naturally situated within the continuum of painting. Some pieces (e.g. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.