Tuesday, May 30, 2006



-scope Los Angeles, or Fun with Arts & Crafts,

Downtown Standard Hotel, Los Angeles,

July 18-21, 2003

by Shana Nys Dambrot


In a similar vein, Gae Savannah’s “Patisserie Chinoise” sculptures at Curcio Projects (NYC) surprised and delighted. Succulent, seductive assemblages of florid, shiny, plastic beauty accessories, her girls, as she calls them, have a real femme fatale quality. Dripping with beads and fringe and lace and gold, the works resemble a sort of garden of poisonous blossoms, whose materials are artifacts culled from the society of fifty years ago, when the myth of feminine delicacy – and its attendant, undervalued freedom to be frivolous - was alive and well. Souvenirs from the artist’s globetrotting shopping/research expeditions, thousands of disparate elements are made to correspond through a labor-intensive construction process that could only be executed lovingly.

These sculptures are not indictments of their origins, but neither are they nostalgic for them. Instead, they are improbably organic representations of the inner lives of things, and the ways in which even inanimate objects become expressive through recontextualization. Her artist statement includes a great Thomas Mann quote that forms a sort of conceptual index for the whole –scopeLA experience. “We need only realize how much obsessed a person is not only with the desired one but with desire itself; how (s)he is not seeking sanity but intoxication and yearning, and fears nothing more than to be relived of his/her delusion.” I can’t wait to see how this down-home high-art fetishism does when the fair returns to Miami Beach in December.