Androids and ghosts at @Space Gallery
"An Indian and an Irishman Walk Into a Bar," the title of a new exhibit of work by Eoin Breadon and Jason Chakravarty at @Space Gallery, is obviously the start of a joke. It sets you up to think that this show is going to be something goofy and satirical about ethnic tensions. The exhibit's poster reinforces all of this, with its crude cocktail-napkin drawing of a stick figure with a shamrock on its belly standing beside another stick figure with a dot on its forehead.
But then you get there, and the show doesn't seem to have much of anything to do with Breadon being Irish or Chakravarty being Indian. This weird, wonderful art could've been made by two guys from Beijing, two girls from Berlin, or a pair of conjoined twins from Nome.
So what's up with the goofy, provocative and misleading title? Maybe Breadon and Chakravarty were brainstorming names for the show, and one of them did the doodle on a cocktail napkin, and they were just buzzed enough to think the whole thing was hilarious. I guess the joke is on us—the joke being that there is no joke.
If we can put that title aside (and please, just let it go, already), we must admit that the work itself is gorgeous stuff. Breadon makes things out of glass that look like relics from a civilization of the future that has long since collapsed. Hang on while we try to untangle that sentence: It's as if you travelled 2 million years into the future; Breadon's art looks like the few artifacts that would survive from the legendary Golden Age just before the Android Uprising of A.D. 5525.
Breadon specializes in shiny, humanoid heads covered with colorful patterns that simultaneously look like tribal tattoos and glowing circuitry. They're stunning, even putting aside the fact they're made out of goddamn glass. You ever see somebody try to sculpt with glass? Making anything nice out of glass is impressive, but making stuff like this out of glass is impressive to the point of being . . . not right. One can only conclude that Breadon actually is a time traveller from 5525, and he's using some sort of stolen, android technology to create these eerily beautiful glass sculptures as a grim warning of things to come. But in so doing, has he prevented the Android Uprising from ever happening? Or has he doomed us all?!?
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There's nothing sci-fi about Chakravarty's art. He's not from the future, just a modern guy . . . who consorts with ghosts. His work features little glass domes with weird, vexingly enigmatic objects in them—tiny toilets, statues of Abraham Lincoln, stuff like that. As if the jars themselves weren't already creepy enough, they also happen to be full of crackling lightning. The real deal, apparently accomplished with xenon and other toxic gases. Done poorly, the effect could come across as very Spencer's Gifts. But the reality is very . . . unreal. Obviously, Chakravarty's art is haunted. He has somehow trapped the souls of the damned in these little domes, and his horrible, EC Comics-esque retribution is bound to hit any day now.
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Unless you hurry, you're in grave danger of missing Lee Price's show at the Sarah Bain Gallery. Price does grimly dazzling oil paintings exploring the often-twisted, love-hate relationship between women and eating. Price's women aren't grossly fat or pathetically thin, but their lives seem to be oppressively ruled by food. We keep catching these poor girls in the midst of a harrowing calorie fix, curled up in fetal balls, surrounded by their smack-like snacks. Full depicts a woman sprawled on a tabletop, surrounded by piles of half-eaten sweets, her face aglow with . . . contentment? Nausea? Or perhaps a bit of both? Whatever it is, you'll walk out of the show feeling the same way. The exhibit has been extended through the first week of May, but you should call ahead before going to make sure it's still up. And don't plan to have dinner immediately afterward.
"An Indian and an Irishman Walk Into a Bar: Eoin Breadon/Jason Chakravarty" at @Space Gallery, 2202 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 835-3730; www.atspacegallery.com. Open Sun. & Wed.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Through Wed. Lee Price's "Recent Works" at Sarah Bain Gallery, 411 W. Broadway, Ste. C, Anaheim, (714) 758-0545; www.sarahbaingallery.com. Open Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Call to check availability.