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July 11th, 2007 RICHARD SPEER | Visual Arts
 

First Thursday: A Tale of Two Davids

David Eckard and David Geiser effuse and eviscerate.

     
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David Eckard creates art at the intersection of desire and deformity. In Liveries (summer stock) at Mark Woolley, he continues a careerlong fascination with the body and the bizarre—themes he further described at the show's First Friday opening as "the body's fleshiness, its potential to be desired or desiring, and the relationship between micro- and macro-...." He populates the gallery with painted wooden planes interspersed with a cornucopia of unlikely materials, creating sculptural objects of arcane purpose. There is Placard, which looks like an erection on a stick—not a real erection, but a highly suggestive piece of bone or gristle sprouting from a pile of pudding. Bride (full bloom) is appointed with leather suspenders, Thug (nine shot registry) with rhinestones and rope, while Cast Nets with Sachet is a steamboat-like contraption of red slats and terrycloth. Wherefore? Whereto? WTF? As in his performance work, Eckard leaves the answers to us, goading us with the two-dimensional, stage-set theatricality of these challenging works. Using flat-finish gunmetal blues and cadaveric grays, the artist imparts a cartoonish, moribund simplicity that wouldn't be out of place in a super-pervy version of Walt Disney's Fantasyland. In real life, David Eckard is as genial and well-adjusted a fellow as you could hope to find in these parts, but his artistic persona is one sick puppy: Obsessed with blubber, freak-show appendages and ambiguous erectile tissues, he is one step away from permanent exhibition at the Someday Lounge. In our age of genetic mutation and sexual free-for-all, Eckard is the perfect poet. (128 NE Russell St., 224-5475. Closes July 28.)

Like Eckard, David Geiser is interested in the terrain of the human body and the Earth itself. His paintings at Butters exult in the seep-and-slide of drips and oozes that evoke snot and spooge and volcanic magma and all things viscous and feared. In his quest to link the organic to the geologic, this New York-based artist has sometimes veered in too literal a direction. Harping on vegetative motifs in his 2005 outing at Butters, he overdosed viewers with a botanic overflow that was basically one artichoke heart short of a salad bar. This time, however, in works such as Double O, Geiser manages to superimpose geometry atop natural chaos without force-feeding us his conceptual agenda. He includes some of his signature cubes in chalky, Yves Kleinlike cobalt but also explores a fresh palette of oranges and yellows, capping a show that mixes subtlety and boldness in perfect proportion. (520 NW Davis St., 248-9378. Closes July 28.)

 
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