Alison Brady, a New Yorker since 2003, hails from the slightly tattered outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, and the image of faded middle-class “coziness” is one that lies at the heart of her photos. Points of comparison might include David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, the installations of Rebecca Horn, or Jimmy De Sana’s subversive Submission.
Brady, just out of school, has her youthful recklessness intact: her work is uncooperative, brazenly gross, and very able to get under your skin. With the help of simple props-
fishing wire, salami slices, filthy bed sheets-she arranges homemade Grand Guignol scenes, where friends and strangers are invited into a performance of the artist’s projection into an absurd reality.
The result is a compelling, funny, and disturbing body of work that mucks through unconscious emotions, desires, and sexual compulsions, all unified by an aesthetic that vacillates between the banal and the fantastic. Issues related to madness and alienation take shape, exploring feelings of anxiety, displacement, and loss of identity.
Amusement and disgust intermingle in this show, with the cumulative effect something like a handcrafted Theater of Cruelty, put on in a suburban backyard, by a girl who most of the kids aren’t allowed to play with.