You won’t rest here. Claire Ashley’s engorged inflatables sprawl across BU’s Galley 808 like an overcrowded beach. Neon, graffiti-esque paintings mark their surfaces; ropes and wooden frames contain them, with rolls of air and plastic skin bulging out from the places they’ve been constricted. The walls are hung with energetic abstract paintings.
The sculptures feel almost sinister. That is, as much as something that’s inspired by plush bodies, children’s cartoons, and the abundant female form can. Claire Ashley is here to take up space, and we can adore her for that. Her scrappy insistence and ethic of agility led to this: monumental sculpture you can pack up and drive across state lines: soft, round, reaching, falling, breathing forms that interface with a gazillon architectural phalluses.
There is an anxious tension to the work; its majesty clashes with its impermanence. The sound of the air pumps is an undercurrent throughout the exhibit, and I can’t help but wonder how the room would deconstruct if the power went off. What could be hidden behind these mutable plastic skins? Do these alien bodies have bones?
Come to the Live Performance Sat, 10/14 3-5pm at Gallery 808. Exhibit runs through Dec. 3rd.