JACK POSPISIL at Studio Facchetti

By wryly inverting symbols of decay and fertility, Jack Pospisil imbues his considerable oeuvre with oxymorons. His subjects are balanced and presented in a disciplined fashion as he charts new territory in his navigation of the inevitable, and the surprises one finds en route. A countercurrent of seeming irreverence is undercut by a reliance on repetition, such as thousands of screws embedded in a log, or a row of cast-plastic skulls backlit by neon. And in this novel terrain, where the industrial meets the organic, incongruous lexicons are combined with seamless cohesion. The artist seems to invent new life by juggling elements from incompatible worlds. Pospisil often uses organic forms as a departure point, no pun intended, casting directly from molds he makes from the bones or body. In the show at Facchetti Studio, his latest subject is an octopus, which he has recast a dozen times, and placed in rings around a neon spiral. While the octopi are not alive, they clearly are representative of life, evoking the primality of cave renderings and the magic associated with depicting animals. With the light shining through, the castings are at once fecund and elegiac, full of promise as well as loss. With the spiral careening silently and frozen behind them, they seem to act as repositories, where memory and experience are transported.

Jack Pospisil, "Fetish Object," (Detail), tree limb, screws, 7" diameter, x 120", 1994.

In a piece that reminded me somewhat of Petah Coyne’s wax “root” hanging sculpture, the “chandelier" of fungi attached to a trunk and hanging form the ceiling was another reaffirmation of life in the face of death. The very thing that gives the fungi life is itself dead. As we find throughout Pospisil’s “constructs,” there is a sense of inevitability here too, as if it’s actually plausible that all these different fungi could band together and completely swaddle this trunk, which is literally cut off, at both ends, from the world. And again, Pospisil’s deft use of repetition, the layers of fungus attached to the trunk, says volumes about the man’s method and style, of which he’s got plenty.

Studio Facchetti, March 16 – April 29

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