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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Currently Hanging

posted by on July 30 at 10:00 AM

Michael Bray’s Untitled (2008), aluminum, wood, spraypaint, 3 1/2 by 4 feet

At Crawl Space. (Gallery site here.)

At Crawl Space on Capitol Hill, this sculpture actually stands upright, with the axes headed into the wall—the way they should be. They’re a tribute to Jack Nicholson’s attack on the bathroom door in “The Shining.” At first, I wasn’t terribly taken with them, but the longer I looked at them, the more they turned into a sort of time machine. The sizes of the axes are in proportion to the velocity they might have in a given position. So if you can imagine this with our upside-down handicap (sorry, I couldn’t find any right-side-up images), you can see that the super-long ax (second from right above) inhabits the spot right before the ax would strike a surface—in the spot where it would have the most (frightening) speed and power. The elongation feels very much like the elongated moment of tension just before something terrible happens in a movie like “The Shining.” This is Bray’s talent: making horror physical, making it non-psychological, giving it a kind of evacuated body that is missing a self.

I suppose that doesn’t sound like fun, but it is. I completely recommend Bray’s installation, which is all based on “The Shining.” There’s a video piece you really have to see, inspired by the scene in which the wife drags Nicholson’s character while he’s unconscious into the meat freezer—and check out the “monitors” the videos are showing on. The art is only up through this Sunday, August 3, so get over there.

UPDATE (full circle): Because Michael Bray is on top of things, he put a link to an image of the right-side-up version in the comments, and here it is, big and beautiful:


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Axes of evil.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 30, 2008 10:22 AM

You can see a proper image of the axe here...

...and yes, axes are evil.

Posted by Mike Bray | July 30, 2008 1:12 PM

Mike: Thanks much! I've updated the post. Sorry I've been out of commission; was out yesterday afternoon on Genius odyssey!

Posted by Jen Graves | July 31, 2008 3:55 PM

No problem. Thanks for posting about my show.

Posted by Mike Bray | August 1, 2008 8:00 PM

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