Friday, June 03, 2011
Two years ago, Elliott Hundley’s second solo show in Los Angeles took visitors on a mind-boggling journey filled with enough emotional turbulence to last a lifetime—or two. Starting with junk-picked detritus, thrift-store leftovers and glossy snapshots of friends posing like B-movie extras, the young artist’s madly cobbled collages (in two and three dimensions) borrowed scenes from Euripides’ “Hekabe” to capture the tenor of our times: a dirty stew in which tragedy and farce have curdled, leaving individuals to our own devices, sorry and otherwise.
At Regen Projects II, Hundley’s new exhibition, inspired by Euripides’ “The Bacchae,” is even more magnificent — and no less conflicted. Its torment, aimed inward, replaces the theatrical rage of much public speech with the doubt-laced anxiety of a self-reflective consciousness pondering its place in the world. Everyman ordinariness and divine omnipotence commingle, confusing viewers who want their art clear and simple.
At once delicate and powerful, trashy and sublime, each of Hundley’s three mural-size wall reliefs, three skeletal sculptures and two spatially fractured paintings appears to be a world that, once upon a time, was complete unto itself but has imploded, blowing jagged fragments every which way.