Fans of sculptor Colin Christian’s pristinely manufactured, fiberglass futuristic Barbie Doll-like sculptures and Hello Kitty aliens are in for something completely different with Trypohobia, the artist’s disturbing new show that opened this past Saturday with an outrageously fun reception at Stephen Romano Gallery in DUMBO.
For the works exhibited in Trypophobia, Colin Christian mines a dark night of the soul to create sculptures that look like something lifted from a David Cronenberg film (and, in an interview with Samuel D. Gliner, available in the show’s catalog, Christian does admit to having watched a lot Cronenberg films) for what is arguably the artist’s most polarizing and personal body of work. Gallery owner Stephen Romano described it to me as Christian’s way of expressing a “Tsumani of Sadness” that he was feeling in his life. And there is no denying that his willingness to put himself way “Out There” is definitely getting a huge reaction – whatever that reaction may be.
While the casual observer might assume that Trypophobia has something to do with teeth, the exhibit actually takes its title from the “pathological fear of objects with irregular patterns of holes, such as beehives, ant hills and lotus seed heads.” If you Google the word, you’ll pull up a lot of images that resemble the work above.
When I spoke with Colin at the exhibit (and let me just say that he simply could not be nicer) and asked him, “what’s up with all the teeth,” he said that he dreamed them. Specifically, he talked about having dreams where his teeth were loose or falling out. I have also had similar dreams off and on throughout my life, so I know what he is talking about and am familiar with the sense of anxiety that prompts such unquiet sleep. You have to respect someone who is brave enough to be so publicly vulnerable.
A group of live models conceived and designed by artist Kalyana Thiru (a regular fixture of Romano Gallery shows) literally brought Colin’s visceral work to life, as seen in the photo above, with more below. Like much of the artwork, I found these ladies simultaneously strangely compelling and yet extremely difficult to look at.
Saturdays’ opening reception was also notable for having inspired a great turn out in very inclement NYC weather, as everyone seemed eager to kick off a new year of art with such a groundbreaking show. The atmosphere at the Romano Gallery was palpably festive with a DJ spinning in one gallery, free-flowing wine, the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and also to make many new acquaintances. Stephen Romano knows how to throw a great party!
We also got to rub elbows with some of our favorite artists, including Colin Christian’s lovely wife, Sas Christian (she is easy on the eyes, that is for sure), along with Jim McKenzie, Eric Richardson, Hannah Faith Yata, Gigi Chen, Martin Wittfooth and Brandon Sines, an artist best known for having had one of his paintings made into a dress on Project Runway!
Mercifully, there was no representation of the legendary Vagina Dentata, though I sure many were expecting / hoping to see one.
Colin Christian’s Trypophobia will be on Exhibit Through February 28th, 2015 at Stephen Romano Gallery, Located at 111 Front Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn.