In the early days of the Covid 19 lockdown, most of us — not just here in Manhattan but around the globe — were spending close to 24 hours a day in our homes. It was during this time that photos began appearing on the Internet and Instagram depicting places like Times Square and other generally heavily-populated ‘tourist destinations’ in states of complete abandonment. It was as if civilization as we know it had ceased to exist, and our cities been left to the elements. The world was looking more apocalyptic by the day. The only thing missing were the zombies.
I thought of these images immediately when I got an email from Hashimoto Contemporary Gallery about their latest exhibition, Quarantine by artist Scott Listfield — who is known for his paintings featuring a lone exploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references.
The gallery is walking distance from my home, so I made an appointment to see these enigmatic and compelling paintings in person. I was the only person in the gallery at the time of my visit, which made the experience even more powerful. To say that Scott Listfield’s work encourages imaginative extrapolation is an understatement.
While my back was turned, Spoke Art Gallery suddenly became Hashimoto Contemporary Gallery. I understand that this involved a simple name change, and that the gallery is being run by the same people, which is a relief, because Spoke/Hashimoto is walking distance from my apartment, and it always has pretty cool art! Example: their latest exhibit is Delicious Monster, a solo exhibition by Dallas-based artist Dan Lam, who is a lady. Delicious Monster is Dan’s fist solo exhibition at the gallery.
Dan Lam is known for her biomorphic sculptures — which she often paints in vibrant, fluorescent colors — that appear to ooze and drip from the shelves on which they perch. These sculptures are made from quick-drying foam, and so they are deceptively light weight, despite appearing to be very heavy.
For Delicious Monster, the artist continues to explore opposing themes of the beautiful and repulsive, and how often these two different sentiments can come from within the same source. With this in mind, the new sculptures explore color and form while experimenting with new materials and layering processes.
To me, these layered sculptures recall exotic undersea coral, but Dan was actually inspired by the Monstera Deliciosa fruit, whose scientific name literally means ‘delicious monster.’ Resembling an ear of corn with a green exterior, this hexagon patterned fruit is sweet, delicious and tropical, yet it can cause severe throat and skin irritation if eaten before it has fully ripened.
Fascinated by the fruit’s tempting contradictions, the works in Delicious Monster explore this relatable concept: patience is often tested by temptation, and the excitement and desire to have an experience before the appropriate moment can often result in dangerous consequences. The sculptures above show examples of a series within the exhibit where these forms appear to be covered in beads or pearls. Dan creates the look by affixing “half beads” to the exterior of the form before paint is applied.
Exploring a variety of textures, from the shimmering iridescent to pointed spikes, Dan’s sculptures appear almost lifelike, as if they were living organisms from a psychedelic universe. Simultaneously alluring and unsettling, their textures, candy colored hues and organic shapes draw the viewer in, tempting you to touch them and enter their alternate universe.
Please enjoy a few more photos from the show:
The gallery installed a ‘Selfie-Wall,’ whose surface emulates the texture of one of Dan’s spiked forms. I was not present at the opening reception, but I can imagine that this wall was very popular!
She also created these miniature sculptures for the gallery’s reception desk Adorable.
Dan Lam’s Delicious Monster Will be on Exhibit Through Saturday, May 25th, 2019 at Hashimoto Contemporary New York (Formerly Spoke Art), Located at 210 Rivington Street (between Pitt & Ridge). Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.