erica mahinay — thin skins, infinity pools, and sand slumps
curated by Jessica Silverman
march 23, 2015 — may 7, 2015
fused space is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by LA-based artist Erica Mahinay, titled “Thin Skins, Infinity Pools, and Sand Slumps.” This installation features paintings and sculptures that work as engaging abstractions on one level and evocative figures with allegorical associations on another. With the kind of intense physicality that feels like an antidote to digitization, the works address issues of splendor, narcissism, tragedy and desire.
Mahinay’s “Thin Skin” paintings are made from fabric, plastic, acrylic and sometimes gold leaf. More sculptural than painterly, the sensuous works are stitched together with Frankenstein- like lushness. The title, “Thin Skin,” adds meaning with suggestions of emotional sensitivity and physical fragility, transforming the works into characters in a conceptual beauty pageant that channels the ghost of Lucio Fontana.
Complimenting the conversation are Mahinay’s “Infinity Pools,” which consist of sand- encrusted staircases that ascend to mirrored platforms, which host sculptural still lives of cast-resin and silicon encased fruit along with ceramic oddities. Positioned to reflect the paintings, they re-frame the “Thin Skins,” creating another perspective from which to experience the work. Meanwhile, viewers who happen to peer down, find themselves caught in a Narcissus-like gaze. These sculptures are not stairways to heaven as much as lures that seduce their surroundings into a “vanitas” drama.
The visceral physicality of the show is extended by Mahinay’s “Sand Slumps,” which are fabric forms filled with sand, spray-tanned and crowned with objects on the cusp of legibility. These sculptures have a human, organic quality; sometimes coming across as dolls without features or appendages struggling against gravity in a way that suggests Claes Oldenberg meets Hans Bellmer.
Mahinay’s highly tactile “Thin Skins, Infinity Pools, and Sand Slumps” explores the nobility and ignominy of the body and the boundaries of self-obsession. Intimate and aloof, the exhibition pushes and pulls the viewer into a rich psychological zone characterized by conflicted emotions and oxymoronic thoughts.