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Fish Carves a Niche 

Wednesday, Aug 8 2007
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It may have something to do with his name, but what artist Jeremy Fish does to animals seems entirely appropriate. He might put a man in a beaver's mouth, or a boat on a fish, or a worm riding a foot-shaped duck like a cowboy. He'll layer his disparate objects -- some animal, some human, most hybrid -- and end up with fantastical creatures in the damndest circumstances, such as a winged beaver tucked inside a skull or a bunny riding a cranium riding a surfboard riding a wave. It can get weird: The Pokémon-like hare atop a skull powered by a winged, helmeted turtle, whose face protrudes from the nose cavity, could be from a banned kid's show. Although he's perfected the cute, lowbrow cartoony style, there's also a subtle menace about his work, primarily due to those ever-present skulls, which embrace a realism at odds with his figures -- the specter of death, if only out for play, undercuts the happy little scenarios. His unifying theme might be movement, death, and innocents, which is right in line with his skateboarding background (few sports come with such a built-in police presence). And he also goes to stellar lengths using the skateboard deck as a canvas. Instead of simply painting them, he has his creations rise out of carved-up boards. Nobody's putting trucks on these.
Aug. 11-Sept. 1

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Michael Leaverton

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