Art Galleries

tug gut

Alyssa Lempesis

When: Sept. 20-21 2014

The insides of the human body are intensely intimate, and yet somehow so grotesquely unfamiliar. We manage to mostly ignore the fact that we each house a collection of tender, bloody organs because we are so rarely (if we’re lucky) confronted with their raw meatiness. The work of Alyssa Lempesis disrupts that bliss. Tug · gut, her current solo show at Aggregate Space (801 West Grand Ave., Oakland) captures all the textures and shapes that make us squirm because we’re so used to ignoring them. Through sculpture and video work, Lempesis evokes slimy excretions, gaping pores, overgrown hairs, jiggling blubber, and other aspects of organisms that we don’t want to see — but can’t look away from. Using unusual materials in even more unusual pairings, she invites the viewer into an oddly pleasurable discomfort zone where polyurethane foam, epoxy resin, concrete, and acrylic all mesh together in an awkward encounter. One end of the gallery is filled with an inflatable sculpture entitled “gulp,” which resembles a massive, blown-up surgical glove made for a hand with 25 fingers. Its numerous protrusions seem subtly perverted, and yet it’s difficult not to want to reach out and grab one.

Sarah Burke

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