ARTSY: Pooh Deer In The Headlights

AaronAvatar_1.jpgBY AARON STELLA I admit I don’t often frequent galleries, save perhaps on occasion when strolling the fairway of First Friday. Other than that, I rarely go out of my way. So this is totally a fluke, but a notable one at that. Just the other day, I saw a photo in the arts section of City Paper of what looked to be the bust of a deer that on its face had the fur and familiar feature of Winnie the Pooh. Sure enough, the caption under the photo read “Pooh Deer,” and that it was being showcased in the Projects Gallery at 629 N 2nd St. I pass that location infrequently when on route to Center City, and so I decided to take a little daytrip to meet “Pooh Deer” up close and personal.

Although I had journeyed for “Pooh Dear,” I found an unexpected trove of treasures upon my arrival. Projects Gallery is a smaller venue, mind you, yet pieces are given plenty of space, and are not cluttered together, so that observers can enjoy a remote artistic distance from their piece of choice. The wall perpendicular to “Pooh Deer” held scattered about it what looked to be masks of every eccentric makeup. Upon closer inspection, it became apparent that in a previous life these masks were not masks at all, but bicycle helmets that had been transformed into bizarre guises, each endowed with a streak of mischief. The artist name is Gregory Farrar Scott, and I think it’s safe to say his imagination is shamelessly child-like, and that he is dauntless in his use of material; that anything can beautify.

In this case, regular old household products evoke the exotic. For example: a seashell is no longer a seashell, but fixed between two India ink bottles, it becomes a nose (suspiciously resembling Groucho Marx), and amputated Barbie doll legs no longer support a busty vixen, but dangle like fleshy fangs, while the remaining slots function as eyes, deep and abyssal. Still, while some masks struck intrigue, others were just plain goofy, and on the whole, they all have some measure of absurdity; yet perpetuate an element of fun. And I divined a message from the outlandish collective, that of community and diversity, in that every mask was uniquely separate from one another, yet none seemed to outshine or be higher in the hierarchical cast from others, making their society appear egalitarian and tribal.

“Fresh!” ends at Project Gallery on September 29th, so hurry over and feast your eyes on a menagerie of the obscure and ludicrous, and meet the eclectic cast of Scott’s zany world. For more of Scott’s work, visit his website here:

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