Purple Art

[April 21 2016]

Keith Sonnier “Portals” exhibition at Maccarone Gallery, Los Angeles

Addressing licking (maybe in art): Like in that commercial, a kid steps into a room and takes a lick of a popsicle, and all the colors switch, layer by layer splashing on his tongue in bright swatches, while his room follows suite. The colors! The kid says to no one or maybe his dog, look at all the colors! He takes another lick to unravel the stratified flavor and fun, a kind of POV popsicle ad imagined while sat on plaid sheets that his mother selected while his friends were out doing cool shit. Maybe why I’m thinking about this is that he licks at that thing at an angle that suggests practice, a licking gaze that takes the plunge and imagines for the first time the power of his own tongue (maybe he’s a poet in the making.) A comic ‘boing!’ announces an extended member grown from the kids head, a ‘popsicle’ or a hat or, you know, whatever you want it to be—at this point it’s all up to the imagination. Who hasn’t, after all, had a moment in their teens where licking something set off all kinds of thoughts and ideas? This kid takes the plunge, trusts his tastebuds. The colors flicker and switch. What does being immersed in a flavor mean anyways? Lick 1 seems to suggest being splashed in raspberry red is too hot to handle; Lick 2 stains in that fast-dyed Smurf blue that’s weird but maybe not in a bad way—he seems more surprised than alarmed about it. The licks are cut short, three maybe too much for public TV, but the gist is clear: lick-a-color, pop it out. It’s how teen bedrooms are super soaked in confused experience, how taste slips into a sense of a room, and how color becomes a mood entering through an orifice. Lucky kid, for whom a popsicle becomes a point of entry, rocket-shaped, Gothic, curved or arched, to the perverse delights of vantage point. What a tease, really, to walk through these colors.

On view until May 7th, 2016 at Maccarone Gallery, 300 S Mission Rd, Los Angeles.



Text and photo Sabrina Tarasoff

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