Paul Donald is doing some crazy things with wood. The New Zealand artist is shaping the material into these crazy creatures that look as if they could tower above you, contorting themselves in different shapes. Donald currently has a show up at Downtown’s CB1 Gallery entitled Woulden, where these creatures are on display through the top of December.
We got word from Clyde Beswick, gallery owner of CB1, with the photos you see here of Paul’s work. “They are weird, wonderful, and childlike,” he said in the message, noting that the New Zealand based artist has shown around the world, but CB1 sees his US debut. The work definitely is fun and has an air to childlike construction by way of alien Tinker Toys, painted in high gloss colors. They also play with the idea of mounting and being mounted and displayed, some of them fighting with their framing devices.
Looking at them for some time, you see that they are a little eerier and maybe like they would pester you in your sleep (probably wanting to play with you, instead of harm you). It is as if you smashed Dali’s Elephants with the crawling head monster from John Carpenter’s The Thing with giant spider crabs–that is the feeling I get from Donald’s work. They aren’t as unnerving as, say, an alien monster intent on replicating you or a crab that is, potentially, a gangly version of yourself however they do carry that Daddy Long Leg quality about them.
Woulden seeks to speak to some of that unnerving of the body, as “the work is made as a call out for imaginative possibilities in relation to its materiality.” The pieces are all about the body and, aside from being alien, tend to be a pit phallic at points (I mean, just look at the one at the top of the page). If you have a chance this week or, better yet, if you are Downtown during some Thanksgiving downtime next week, stop in and see Donald’s work. It’s located in CB1’s West gallery, while Chuck Agro is in the East gallery.