Wouldn’t You Like to Be a Palmbach Too?

Walking into “New Work,” Ulrike Palmbach’s art exhibit, you might think of Kathryn Spence. Both artists deal in pouchy-looking soft sculpture and cryptic, thready items that squat around the gallery in a most charming way. It turns out they’re friends, even. So we weren’t too surprised when the gallerist pointed over our shoulder during the First Thursday opening reception and said, “There’s Kathryn now!” Spence revealed she has a show coming up this summer; we squealed with joy, and then we went back to looking at Palmbach’s stuff. Overall it shouts a wonderful absurd attitude; the show includes a painted blanket, some woodwork, and cloth reproductions of a pile of cardboard boxes. Immediately, it all makes sense: How could Ulrike Palmbach have done otherwise? The pieces hang together, confident in their Ulrike Palmbachness. A signature style is a series of mutant string things possessing the smooth, sweet dignity of hand-dipped candles mixed with the disgusting sag of internal organs. They’re altogether mysterious and lovely.
May 7-30, 2009

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