Posted by: trailerpilot | 04:11::2009

You are Young

Untitled (Baseball Plant)" by Ali Bailey, 2009. Cast polyurethane, brass, epoxy and oil paint. Photo courtesy Golden.

"Untitled (Baseball Plant)" by Ali Bailey, 2009. Cast polyurethane, brass, epoxy and oil paint. Photo courtesy Jacob Meehan, Golden.

New-ish Lakeview gallery Golden, in a simply beautiful/beautifully simple three-flat near Wrigley, has shown paintings, photography and now, until June 7, sculpture. Ali Bailey’s show You are Young doesn’t ask for much of your time, but after attending last night’s opening it’s still soaking into my brain like blood into gauze.

The layout of Golden—an apartment—allows each of Bailey’s five pieces its own room, which ends up being a great way to experience objects of such firm personality. They’re like characters from a film where objects come to life to comfort a lonely young boy with leukemia. Sleepwalker in particular is straight-up Coraline-style fantasy, a tall figure spun around in surprise, or perhaps beckoning, consisting only of a navy sleeping bag and dented basketball. Although initially simple and oh-I-get-it easy, the draping of the cheap bag and the way the ball’s “face” peers out from its hood give paused action instantaneous narrative in both directions. Similarly, Untitled (Baseball Plant) is a filmic, sweet image, sublimely executed and perfectly-scaled. But the single fallen leaf lying next to the dirty, sprouting ball throws everything into melancholy: Barely come to life, it’s already dying, as any plant growing from a baseball would. It speaks eloquently to its own obvious contrivance at the same time it represents premature mortality, memory and, maybe, dreams deferred.

The monumental Stump (Led Zeppelin #1), while framed as the star of the show, was for me maybe a little too reminiscent of the Chapman Brothers’ Sex I (2003), with wistful nostalgia and chewing gum in place of maggots and plague (that said, however, I’d much rather live with Bailey’s piece than Jake and Dinos’). Beautiful, supremely finished and thought-out (not to mention priced to move), You are Young encourages, as its title suggests, maintenance of a childlike attachment to wonder and imagination. In a kind of deep-seated sadness despite a lively palette and finish-fetishism, it’s also a little like watching Kiefer imitate Koons; definitely my kind of stuff.


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