Text: Alec Coiro
All Images Courtesy of Situations Gallery
Jerry the Marble Faun — who some may know from Grey Gardens — is equal parts sculptor and gardener. Although I wonder if he would see his vocations as distinct; I certainly find it apt to leave the gardener-sculpture line blurry. If I learned anything from Edward Scissorhands, it’s that all gardening when done well is a form of sculpture. And the sculptures on display at Situations Gallery are very much pieces of a garden. While sculpted from stone, they are also rubbed with nutrients (potatoes) to invite vegetation to form a living patina. Moreover, the sculptures lived in Jerry the Marble Faun’s personal garden in Queens up until he brought them to the gallery for display. The gallerists smartly invoke their prelapsarian garden origins by recreating a garden-like scene in the gallery’s front.
Many of the sculptures were taken from the Avenues of midtown Manhattan — “the canyons” I heard Jerry the Marble Faun call them. He somehow dumpster-dived the incredibly heavy stones out of the back of demolition sites. Knowing the material’s genesis leads me to imagine them as part of an accelerated iteration of that u/dystopian fantasy of the futuristic skyline decayed and overrun with vegetation (see William Morris’s News From Nowhere for the most romantic example).
Mostly sculptures of the heads of men, beast, and spirits, they are all done with a tinge of abstraction to suggest there is a ritualistic aspect to them, which in turn suggests a connection to the sort of animism that is perfectly appropriate to a garden. The show as a whole is a natural thing of beauty.