Ann Wood

Violent Delights
Thu Oct 4, 2012 - Sat Nov 17, 2012

Ann Wood incorporates two- and three-dimensional pieces into an immediate and dramatic environment. The work has a Rococo visual appeal that references topiaries, floral bouquets, desserts as well as historical painting and sculpture. While the exhibition is traditionally beautiful and looks as if it might even taste good, it slowly reveals a disturbing underbelly.  It contains hidden and obvious vignettes of danger, death, deception, and decay woven throughout. Themes of decadence and over-indulgence quickly become sickening. In the two-dimensional work, embroidered, heroic animals hang from bows or lie dead in a symmetrical embrace, decaying and swarmed by flies, in the tradition of Spanish and Dutch still lives.

The process and materials used are also important in the concept and aesthetic quality of the work. Both Wood’s two- and three-dimensional works rely heavily on craft-store objects like fake flowers, sequins, plastic jewels, and puffy paint. In the spirit of dichotomies, Wood contrasts these domestic materials with industrial ones like rubber, plastic, and foam as well as hunting decoys and taxidermy mannequins.

Sculptural animals are frozen in a moment of ultimate humiliation, covered with what appears to be frosting, flowers, and bows. Other animals are intertwined in ambiguous poses: are they fighting to the death or mating? This calls attention to the thin line between love and hate and the spectacle of violence as entertainment. A sense of attraction and repulsion is created. While the gooey, almost edible quality of the environment may be inviting, it is also easy to imagine the work as a dangerous and baited trap. This is further enhanced by the fact that some of the animals trapped in the cake frosting like goo are actual hunting decoys meant to lure other animals in for the kill or taxidermy mannequins serving as subtle reminders of a violent death.