Sometimes I read trauma in Chen Qiulin’s frozen collapsing bodies, figures kept suspended in the moments before their ends. In certain viewings, I may interpret Tip Toland as a sculptor who translates the common-yet-pitiful faces of Eugène Ionesco characters onto clay. I could also look at Guy Rushton’s work and see emphasis of scene properly overtaking maintenance of proportion. When I walked into The Skrauss Global’s new exhibition at Center Street Clay Studio (707 East Center Street, Milwuakee, WI) this week, my ideas were not as singular, which I found, in this case, to be a good thing.
First, intermingled in the show were cardboard weapons — some as simple as a drawing of a gun on a brown square; others fitted into hands. Either way, the ease of access to weapons, and perhaps the disposable nature of them, was unsettling in the work, in a good way: bodies are difficult to make; weapons may be acquired as easily as boxes from a dumpster.
Second, figures (large and small) and paintings banded together to form a narrative — a mixed media comic book. The artist was on hand to act as docent and narrator of what I interpreted as optionally linear story — perhaps taking cues from, or propping up, Scott McCloud’s theories of non-linear comic narration in his 1993 book “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.”
Images from The Skrauss Global show, permission given by the artist: