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Friday, September 15, 2006

And Cardboard Danger Bangs!

Posted by on September 15 at 9:30 AM


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).




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i love these. thank you.

Strange and eloquent you post this. I believe a Fife piece was in the entryway for Darger's opening, a bust in likeness to JFK.

For some reason these remind me of the giant yarn and foamboard skull Spencer Moody showed at the Black Light show at Sweatshop.

Thank God someone finally noticed. Fife has been the butt of jokes and derision around these parts for decades. I'm glad to see the little town finally get the recognition it deserves.

Hahaha - I'm funny.
I didn't take note that the artist's name is Fife, so when I read 'Fife is a Seattle treasure' - I thought it was talking about FIFE! And was like WTF??? Where have I been? I always thought Fife was a shithole!

But about the sculptures - haunting, disarming and sad. Which is all good.

Spencer reminds me of the foam giant and yardboard skull Moody Paulus showed at the Sweat Light show at Blackshop.

These are beautiful... thanks for posting them.

Scott Fife rules. We saw his show at the Tacoma Art Museum. Really inspirational! They even got to keep the giant dog I think.

Those are beautiful. Good thing every link on here isn't to celebrity foolishness or political mendacity.

I'm wondering in all this Fife-dom, where the art is. I concur that the work is technically impressive, but how do the materials and manner of construction inform the work? Do they? Should they? Is it possible that Fife is a pastiche of himself?

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