Hardening Off, watercolour, graphite and color pencil on handmade paper, 17 x 12 inches. Photo courtesy of artist

Joy of Topping

Topping is a show that mixes queerness, humor and the magic of botany together. Both using terms such as topping to mean different things, the sexual or the basic idea of what’s on top!

Going into the small room it feels larger than it actually is; you’re faced with Split, Jason Rondinelli . Standing proud before you, weird textures and patterns carved into it, dirt has been smashed on to and into it and around the ground, with the remains of petals. A romantic gesture, almost oily, these two pieces of wood you slowly realize as you approach are leaning into each other. The legs of the structure are supporting a different piece of wood that’s frayed, splintered and barely held together as it appears to be splitting into two. It’s a lighter color, unfinished piece of wood, which creates a conversation between the materiality difference of the structure.

Surrounding the walls of this room are Sarah Mihara Creagen’s lovely drawings. Some are raunchy and some feel like they belong in a fantastical sex book. The text included go between bold letters and fading marks, and the letters are used as tools of mark making. All the text used in the works come straight from botanical definitions, adding a twist to the sexual aspects of these terms. One prime example and personal favorite is her drawing titled Hardening Off. The drawing includes this image of what one might perceive as a strap on with a mixture of a Venus fly trap and vulva. The text is written as if it was labelling within a medical drawing. Creagen’s decision is to keeping color to a minimum, but when used, her color balances softness with the acidic feel of the colors chosen.

This feeling of balancing hardness and softness pulls us back to Rondinelli’s work. At first glance his piece titled Hard Wood seems to contain a hunk of hacked up wood. However, the appearance of the hunk of wood disintegrates for the viewer as we look closer, and the same careful carvings we notice are also visible in Split. Obscuring the carvings in Hard Wood sare flowers leaning into the crevices and carved pockets, stems sticking out into the world, petals pressed into the wood almost as if hiding from our gaze.

Sarah and Jason’s work shares this playfulness and vulnerability. This relationship can be seen between the drawing Sarah has with two feet staring at each other under water. On one side next to a foot is a speculum, appearing to be held by the one who possesses that foot as well in a self exam. This drawing is paired beside Split, which brings out the bodily reference of the wood and makes us consider that they may be legs as well.

There’s something dangerous and sweet and what a weird match made in heaven! The show is up from August 4-31st at the Hunter Project Space (930 Lexington Ave) and I deeply encourage everyone to see it. It’s a celebration of queerness, a sort of poking fun at humor, the sensuality and romance of botany, what a joy! You can see the loving friendship in these art pieces, they’re in different worlds but their art is speaking to each other, and listening.

The show is up from August 4-31st at the Hunter Project Space (930 Lexington Ave)

Posted in Art



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Submit Your Work

Learn more about how to be featured on our Top Ten List of Artists.