Chelsea Now Review of "Are We There Yet?" @ STUX- Feb 2008
Volume 2, Number 16 | The Weekly Newspaper of Chelsea | January 18 - 24, 2007 "Chelsea Now"
Art Reviews By Jeffrey Wright
Are We There Yet?
Through February 2
530 West 25th Street
Irreverence is one of Don Porcella’s trump cards and he plays it with a refreshing air of optimism at his first solo show at Stux Gallery. His childishly reductivist paintings are dispatched with brute gusto. They can hit the mark visually as well as conceptually.
“Solo Mission” depicts an astronaut zooming through the sky. Streaming out and propelling him is a diagonal slash of red, mustard and white daubs and drips — a perfect amalgam of abstraction and realism — done with cheekiness (and wide eyes). The encaustic on wood format adds weight and luster to the scores of small paintings. Porcella is also known for working with pipe cleaners. These fuzzy, colorful units deflate the seriousness of art, causing a viewer to be charmed and disarmed. Probing further, they question our culture’s mightiest icons and in doing so, tweak our collective nose while maintaining sincerity. A hokey pipe cleaner eagle hangs from the sky. A Nike sneaker lies on its side still sheathing an amputated, bleeding foot. The presumably benign material is transformed into an agent of reversed expectations.
The most audacious part of an audacious show was a bunch of plastic bags tacked to the wall. Inside the bags were various gee-gaws made out of pipe cleaners. Cheese Yums were 99 cents. A little “Dealer” was offered. In his suit and red tie you wondered what kind of a dealer he was. Maybe all the artists need little action figures of dealers to play with, like Voodoo dolls to get into their dream gallery. Here, Porcella crosses over from winning spoofery into an advanced portrayal of rituals and their attendant fetishes. This belief in things, both seen and unseen, is what lies at the root of art. We all want to have what we need to get what we want. And so we make good luck charms — and hey, sometimes they work.