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Alessandra Exposito: Greener Pastures

Mixed Greens
531 West 26th Street, 212-331-8888
August 24 - October 7, 2006
Reception: Thursday, September 7, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

In Green Pastures, Exposito presents large-scale paintings and an installation of animal skulls.

For the past few years, Exposito has created small sculptures using chicken skulls. While the rooster is a national symbol in Cuba, Exposito purposefully chose its female counterpart to be the subject of her work. The adorned skulls comment on the use of large, exotic game as decoration and use the hen as a vehicle to explore power, gender roles and the body.

In this exhibition, Exposito broadens her vocabulary and constructs a “trophy wall” of farm animals and beloved pets. She flirts with machismo stereotypes associated with the “hunter” to create a wall of skulls that appropriate and exploit trendy accoutrements of femininity. Over a dozen chicken skulls hang together with skulls of a horse, dogs, cats and mice.

Each skull’s tender decoration and meticulous detailing evokes the intimacy of a fetish object, while their large sculpted horns imply a more grandiose history. Tiny jewels are used as accents that draw attention to the marvelous intricacies of the skull with its many hollows, fragile projections, and lacy contours. The animal’s memorial portrait is painted on the skull along with its fictitious name, habitat or owner.

In the north gallery, pieces of the trophy wall are repeated in Exposito’s ambitious paintings. In each, a life-sized self-portrait floats among antlers, dead game, jewels and bullet holes on the canvas. Elements of the feminized hunt appear and surround the figure. Just as the trophy wall blurs the boundary between feminine and masculine, the entrancing figures appear to exist in an ambiguous in-between space.
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