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A Room of One’s Own was written almost a century ago, and it is still as prophetic as ever: “One must be woman-manly or man-womanly,” or “Some marriage of opposites has to be consummated.” The two concurrent solo shows now on view at François Ghebaly Gallery—Candice Lin and Dan Bayles—consummate Woolf’s creed, each separately subverting expectations of power and domination.
Bayles’ exhibition is meant to critique The Apotheosis of Washington, a White House fresco (after which the show is titled). And it does so violently. His floral, marigold-red and yellow paintings are more reminiscent of Charles Burchfield’s dandelion ghosts and Elysian fields than the aesthetics of nationalistic power.
Separately, Candice Lin’s You are a Parasite, an immense sculpture central to her installation, turns an invasive organism into a symbolic space to yield power over others: a room of one’s own. Paper maché, fiberglass, foam, and sheepskin illustratively anthologize the human body with point-blank anthropological precision, appropriating colonial tactics and de-celebrating male humanness.
Lin’s work presents a particular form of contemporary feminism involving chemical violence and its effects on our bodies: something like Anicka Yi’s You Can Call Me F, a performance and installation at The Kitchen (New York) last spring, which speculated on dystopic, bio-chemical warfare amongst the sexes, resulting in the extinction of either (or both). Large and looming, Lin’s work seems masculine, unlike Bayles’—pastel colored and euphoric. Their critiques are less obvious when viewed together, and certainly less “sex-conscious,” as Woolf defines it. Today’s body politic benefits from alloyed and oblique interpretative forces like Lin’s and Bayles’ to combat the governing rules of power which are often unadulterated: simple, expected, and just as dangerous.
You are a spacious fluid sac and The Apotheosis of Washington, run from September 12–October 24, 2015 at François Ghebaly Gallery (2245 E Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90021)