Ever Gold Gallery opened New York-based Adam Parker Smith's newest show Forever 21. The small space was packed with people, and I could very quickly see why; the work is really extraordinary. The only thing I wish was that there was more space to see more of his work, because it is impressive. But this is San Francisco, so space isn't exactly readily available, and Ever Gold balanced the available space perfectly by not overwhelming it with too many pieces. Furthermore, the intimacy of the space really added to the experience.
The gallery door opens to a small entrance space with a sculpture of a VW Bug inside a glass bottle as well as a fabric/painted piece reminiscent of Blinky Palermo's compositions. The VW Bug inside the bottle is painted to every detail, including a hole in the windshield with painted cracks extending from it. The car itself is a detailed sculpture, but placed within the bottle (somehow) it became an outrageously intriguing item. The draped fabric piece with its peachy hue was a great transition into the main gallery, where Smith shows his other sculptures. Unlike the Bug, these sculptures are direct references to gynecological genitalia, but become abject body parts rather than sexual references. These forms are made of foam, bound by rope and remove the fragment of the vagina from the rest of the body, creating a non-sexualized form. Instead of insinuating a sexual viewing of the work, these sculptures allowed pure formal interpretation. Then, placed on marble-like columns, which were bound by bungee cords and emphasized as not being actually marble, these genital forms were raised to classical standards of fine art. This was further connected to the draped front piece, which can either relate to classical dress or another sexual body part, without overt reference.
The rest of the show consists of other sculptures including the whimsical (Untitled) Kanye Shades which is a set of white window blinds cut into the shape of sunglasses. Shown on a white wall, the contrast between the piece and the wall is subtle, and the humor is muted, but insistently present. Also, the monochrome wall helped to balance its opposite wall which was hung with a "marriage proposal" made of sewn-together friendship bracelets. The texture and color of this piece are significant alone, but there is a complex meaning implicit in the fact that they are friendship bracelets and instead of symbolizing one relationship, it includes the connection of thousands.
Finally, the back room of the gallery is tiny, but provides the perfect space for what is displayed. The bodily innuendo of the show is continued with a floor sculpture of a watermelon with an inviting, glowing pink hole. The last corner holds what looks like an altar, with some really complex pieces inside of it. These works look like a poster hung on the outside of your bathroom window, to which you see through the steam after your shower by wiping away the condensation the glass. I am completely clueless as to how he achieved this look, but my god is it effective. Some works have writing and some are just cleared spaces to the poster, but no one could miss out on it; we've all wiped away steam from our mirrors, but more often, we do it to see ourselves, not celebrities who are usually displayed transparently.
Smith's work is so complex that much more could be said about it, but truthfully words don't do it justice – these pieces must be seen in person. I can't wait for the opportunity to see Smith's work in the large space of a museum, which I'm sure is just around the corner for him. For now, Ever Gold has done a great job in showing as much work as possible, and it must have been very difficult to narrow what works would be included in the show, because like me, I'm sure they just want to keep seeing more.
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