Jocelyn Shipley gives us another little piece of her heart when she turns her latest material freak out to the aquatic in “The Secret Life of Sculpture”.
Ms. Shipley has a natural hand for the phantasmagoric, for nuances of light and dark magic and cuddly and horrifying gore. She has in the past, with an articulate touch, used horror, monstrous fantasy worlds, dragons, Wicca spiritualism, bestiaries, and Satanism, as departures for installations and individual pieces. In “The Secret Life Of Sculpture”, she guts 1960’s “enchantment under the sea” exotica so we can see that its better inside than out. She lets us slide into the viscera of its blinding day-glo bowels, the coral intricacies of diaphanous phosphorescent self-revelation. Nothing is concealed, only the intimate pleasures of unmediated body sugar, the sloppy treats of revelatory pleasure.
Ms. Shipley’s masterfully crafted pieces posses a self-soothing touch of the conflict between stoic emotional potency and the gentle caress of disclosure- often weirdly manifested in the flayed animals and drunk Halflings that populate her work. She wraps herself in comfort with an articulate and perverted vocabulary of hobby craft ornamentation, appliqué and bricolage; a stormy version of the personal accommodations from “My Favorite Things”.
“The Secret Life of Sculpture” glimpses the aquatic part of a fantastical place where sculpture waits with anxiety and anticipation to shine out, to scream its sirens song, to voraciously screech as chimera, to bewitch and rapture. Its where the elegant tangles of artists’ hearts are revealed – glittering, throbbing, disillusioned and explosively raw. Jocelyn Shipley pulls her sculpture through the darkness of the leviathan. She shows us fragments of landscapes that bring their own light and cast it from their tentacles, spines and orifices. In their light they can breathe, be what they want to be. Grow as gnarly and contorted as they want. There is no hell down there, no world’s end, just the ocean floor’s perfect luminosity, full of captivation within the dark rifts and shores of the deep.