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Yeast Piss and Poppy Sap

November 12 – December 17, 2011

Kyle Milligan

Show Description:
As Milligan was the artist in residence at Studio Quercus, this was a multifaceted show, offering a formally presented gallery exhibit along with a more casual invitation to part the curtains and enter Milligan’s workshop, where more sculptures will be displayed among the artist’s assortment of tools and industrial machinery. The work itself is by turns whimsical, physical, intricate, and heavy. In many instances, it’s all of the above.

Whimsy comes through frequently in the mashing together of unexpected shapes, and in the humorous characterization of body parts. Similarly, names of many of the pieces were plucked from medical manuals, and are like clues that may lead to either an appreciative laugh or a scratch of the head. In the past, Milligan studied and practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine, which in part explains his fascination and familiarity with anatomy and medical terminology.

Physicality is plain to see, to the point where some visitors to the gallery are likely to find body parts where none were meant to be seen. (In his artist’s statement, Milligan reminds us that sometimes a flower really is just a flower.) To make up for such instances, there are also some rather saucy physical references that are all but impossible to pick out. So, there is no getting around the fact that human anatomy is a big part of Milligan’s work. As a case in point, on one piece, several breasts of eye brow−raising proportion appear to belong to an octopus-like agglomeration of firehoses. Milligan titled this one “Country Club Attire.”

The intricacy of the work comes not just from convoluted concepts, but also from delicate smaller pieces, some cast in iron, that suggest a deep appreciation for the Arabesque while also demonstrating Milligan’s great skill with a scroll saw.

As for the heaviness of the work, that’s meant quite literally. Some of these pieces are big, and extremely dense. One, consisting largely of molded plaster, weighs in at over 900 pounds. The studio purchased a forklift in order to move some of the works from the back workshop to the front gallery, a distance of perhaps 20 feet.

Read a review of this show on the Press page.

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