Arts And Cardboard Danger Bangs!
That’s Seattle artist Scott Fife’s slightly-larger-than-life-sized Chief Joseph. He made it, along with a bunch of other celebrity heads (Lili St. Cyr, Kurt Cobain, Che Guevara, and Geronimo among them) and ink wash drawings on paper this summer, for his solo show this month at Bodybuilder & Sportsman Gallery in Chicago.
I got to see the sculptures in person a couple of weeks ago in his Sodo studio before he shipped them off (they might not make it back this way, considering how well they generally sell), and they reconfirmed my impression that Fife is one of Seattle’s treasures.
An architect by training, he builds these raw-skinned structures using gray archival cardboard, screws, and yellowish wood glue that leaves drips and drabs flowing down the faces, sometimes turned orange by mixing with the sketchy, red colored-pencil lines that run along the contours of single pieces of torn cardboard or depict tears or facial lines. Near the eyes, he leaves deep, velvety black holes. The slightly glaucomatic Chief Joseph was the one I couldn’t tear myself away from. All the power and pain of this proud, defeated man are right there, despite the fact that the surface seems to be continuously in the process of making and unmaking itself.
I’ll just let you look for yourself at a couple of his works (the paper works are new and I didn’t get to see any in person, but they’ll be in his upcoming retrospective at the Boise Art Museum)—or the gallery web site is here (click on Fife’s name for more).