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Meredith Allen employs depth of field comparable to Da Vinci’s atmospheric perspective in his portrait of the Mona Lisa. The dreamy backgrounds are instead the beautiful beach vistas of Eastern Long Island. The portraits are ice cream busts on Popsicle-stick armatures—of Bugs, Tweety, and the like. The sweet, sticky melting pops belie any malicious intent; however, the menacing image of the Tasmanian Devil’s bared teeth smarts. One cannot avoid empathy with the pitiful Tweety’s dripping yellow “fur”, and his big blue eyes wiped by the wind, leaving diagonal smudges. Indian chief portraitist Edward Curtis comes to mind: his irreverence for his subject, his sense of adventure, and the colorful headdresses that inspired him.

The pairing of Allen and Bors at P.S. 122 is fortuitous. Bors presents large laminated photographs of figurines and stuffed animals covered with dripping brown or pasted with gooey substances—a chick which appears to have recently emerged from an Easter basket stuck with cellophane and slathered with an aged yellow shellac. These are product photos or glorified tchotchkes hung on gallery walls. His I Win DVD intends to annoy. Allen’s work employs the painter’s sensitive use of color and texture; Bors’s pieces a sculptor’s focus on a specific object rather than the general scene.

Objects are presented for us to draw general conclusions from. Perhaps an ironic observation about art, “The Melting Pop” is a deadpan allusion to, what? Like Duchamp’s readymades, a single answer would not be the point. A urinal means, what? The question was fodder for cultural discourse and change. In the case of Allen’s work, a time element is added with the dripping and melting ice cream, and a dependence on atmosphere far in the background. There is a lack of presumption and prescription of problem or solution in this childhood remembrance of ice cream at the beach, save for a sort of dismay or chagrin at the impermanence of all things good and sweet.


At P.S. 122, March 1 – 24


Lori Ortiz


The Brooklyn Rail


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