From your sweetest nightmares
Verge Center for the Arts
They are unsettling and attractive. Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor’s work is contradictory, pulling reactions from both the viewer’s warm-and-fuzzy and worst-childhood-nightmare emotional reservoirs. Her sculptures have a comforting familiarity as cartoonish creatures made of old doilies, afghans and twine, reminiscent of memories at Grandma’s house—but they are in a state of unravel, sometimes intimidatingly hunched over, towering taller than Shaquille O’Neal. They are practically breathing. It’s magically terrifying.
Higgins O’Connor has said Francisco Goya’s crosshatching and the aesthetics of favelas and shantytowns are major influences on how she layers these monumental amounts of discarded fibers to build her beasts. Her work has presence in a space—the sculptures’ eyes follow the viewer and seem to slowly pursue him or her around the room. To be in the same space with this Sacramento-based artist’s creatures makes the viewer feel—and often it’s the chills.
Feel her work (not literally, though) in (This is Not a) Love Song along with Mathew Zefeldt’s Windows at Verge Center for the Arts through October 16.