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Lauren DiCioccio @ Jack Fischer

Woven Tripod, 2014, wire, linen, canvas, thread, wood, felt

Visitors to the Jack Fischer gallery this month may feel as if they’ve stumbled into a menagerie — of sorts.  Large slouching figures built of recycled cloth greet you near the entry, while “limbs” and “body parts,” executed in miniature, occupy several tables toward the rear.  In all, there are more than 60 objects.  Together they form a taxonomic snapshot of DiCioccio’s abundant imagination and an expansion of the material inventiveness she’s displayed over the past decade. Now, instead of making trompe-l’oeil replicas of books and other forms of printed matter, DiCioccio’s begun creating anthropomorphic sculptures out of found and fabricated objects.  These she bulks up with stuffing and wraps in cloth salvaged from fabric stores.  The only remnants of her previous work are dangling threads, signposts of their humble origins.   

The act of wrapping and sewing calls to mind to African fetish objects; these, however issue no talismanic charge. The aforementioned figures, for example, faintly echo the drooping countenance of ragamuffin sculptures made by Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor and Robb Putnam.  The smaller tabletop sculptures suggest the biomorphism of Ron Nagle and Ken Price.  What distinguishes DiCioccio is her fluency in summoning contradictory forces, bound and released in these playful forms.  
Group of Six, 2014, wire, linen, thread, stuffing, felt, wood


You feel it in the tension between the truncated body “parts” (torsos, buttocks, breasts, balls) and the myriad associations given off by the fabrics in which they’re wrapped.  In the large figures, for example, strips of colored cloth stream out from where feet would normally appear, producing a carnivalesque aura countermanded by a tight weaving of those same tendrils into bodies, their colors and grids reminiscent of potholders that children make on small looms. In the tabletop works, we see wrapped anatomical

Coral Woven, 2014

shapes with wooden protuberances and others of similar construction supported by bent wire to resemble large insects.  That they read as a neo-dadaist/surrealist exercise shows the margin by which the artist sidesteps the cuteness and craftiness that so often besets textile-based sculpture. 

DiCioccio doesn’t seem overly concerned with presenting a consistent look.  The outlier in this show – a shelf of sports trophies wrapped in muslin – is one of the exhibit’s high points.  Mummified and modified by loose threads, these frozen action figures seem oddly heroic for having been twice memorialized. 
At this juncture, making the familiar seem strange is DiCioccio’s strong suit.  
Lauren DiCioccio: “Familiars” @ Jack Fischer Gallery through October 18, 2014. 

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