Semi-Feral. What does that mean?
I woke up wondering after attending the opening of E.V. Day's show Semi-Feral at Mary Boone Gallery.
Even before seeing Day's show ferality, if that is the appropriate grammatical turn of feral, has been on my mind. Maybe because Studio Cat frequently works herself into feral moments when the hour is late and we are more inclined to indulge wild streaking through our quarters. Maybe it's because we spend our evenings walking through Prospect Park where everyone's got the cover of anonymity to let their feral flags fly. Maybe it's because we're getting ready for Prabal Gurung's NYFW show and fashion gives us permission to explore the untamed side of our desires, sartorial and otherwise.
But, let's get back to Day's show because it is worth consideration beyond the title. Sculpture is often beyond my scope of visual or narrative fluency, but the combination of elements chosen by Day in Portable CatFight and CatFight are familiar or to be more precise - parts of those elements. In Portable CatFight, a red pedestal on wheels supports a steel cage hosting an altercation between two cat skeletons suspended by wire that may never resolve.
The piece brought my childhood to mind. The Art Dealer was a big fan of design featuring well-placed red accents. Cats, not so much. And then there's notion of portability. Fights of the human sort need no cage to travel, but what an idea. To be forever trapped in such a moveable (and aesthetically pleasing) conflict while the world peers in.
That is a bit of what it feels like to be a girl in middle school - claws not quite sharpened and yet fangs bared looking to sink into the right clique at any cost. Or was that just my experience?
The larger work, CatFight removes the steel cage barrier and places the viewer right into the fray of filament and bones. While seeking shelter in a far flung corner of the gallery, I was able to appreciate Day's technical attentions and accomplishment.
Again, there was the color red. The lines holding up the skeletons started from metal tracks on the walls - going from red to clear by the time they reached the skeletons. The shadows bouncing on the walls and the iconic floor of Boone's gallery placed us all in the battle. And yet, there will be no permanent scarring to the physical space. Or to the viewer. The fierceness only goes so far on Fifth Avenue. But what of the skeletons - will they be tamed? Only time will tell.
And speaking of time, the Gurung catwalk calls.
Semi-Feral. E.V. Day. Mary Boone Gallery. 745 Fifth Avenue. Up through October 25. Check it out.
photo: viewer checking out Bridal Supernova (2006)