June 15, 2021
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10. “Kathleen Ryan” at Karma, New York
In her first exhibition at Karma, Kathleen Ryan cranks up the scale of her bedazzled sculptures of decaying fruits to flirt with the gallery’s spatial limits. In the process, she also supersizes the tensions that give her practice its wit and wonder. Semiprecious stones stand in for bacterial growths and molds on the works’ craggy, mutated surfaces, making what should be their most repulsive aspects their most alluring.
Even when creating pieces that dwarf the average gallery-goer (Jackie, a monumental jack o’ lantern, and Bad Cherries, a steel cage packed with oversized representations of the rotting stone fruits, are highlights), the artist sacrifices none of the attention to detail that rewards close viewings of her domestic-sized works. Like investigating mysterious asteroids found smoking in some remote field, exploring their topographies forces you to let discomfort and fascination ride side-by-side in your mind.