In her series of graphite drawings Evenings and Weekends, Corin Sworn furthers her preoccupation with public and private spaces as reflections of cultural idealism and personal negotiation by looking to a particular aspect of late 60s culture: children’s playspaces. At that time, newfound theories declared that environment affects childhood development, and thus experts advocated the creation of specific, ordered places for kids to gather and play. This need was furthered by the fact that across Europe children had turned war-torn rubble into make-shift playgrounds of their own. Ironically, while theorists and architects also promoted building unstructured sites that did not manipulate play, they in fact produced highly controlled and proscribed environments, far beyond simple schoolyards of the past. Sworn removes the backdrop of landscape, leaving the futuristic and sometimes bizarre playground accoutrements oddly disembodied and stopped in time. Aesthetically, these mazes of tubes and lines echo art and design movements of the same moment. Coupled with images of “The Boy in the Bubble,” David Vetter, America’s poster child for unbridled optimism and an icon of artificiality, Evenings and Weekends looks back with nostalgia and criticality toward these civic productions for a social good.

In the side gallery, Erik Geschke presents a solitary figure sculpted of resin-coated fiberglass and Styrofoam, christened Missgeburt (German translations: deformed baby, monster, or freak). The seated giant is scaled at 175% of a 6’ 2” adult male and thus conjures stylized, outsized portraits of communist leaders and fallen dictators. Yet this slumbering, dullard giant retains a childlike air and vulnerability. Drained of color, Missgeburt is monochromatic in its entirety – a drab, institutional beige that belies any specificity of realism. Seemingly destined for experimentation or commitment, imprisonment or extermination, he could summon recent history’s ways to look at the halt, the hammered and the heroic lame. More likely, though, he embodies a state of psychological exhaustion that resonates within our contemporary culture, filled with cubicles, commutes, and corporate models.

The shows mark the New York debuts of both Canadian Sworn and Seattle-native Geschke.

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