Tuesday, October 13, 2009

“VOLCQIYA: Curse of the Peppermint”, by L, Chicago. Stickers on wrinkled paper

I don’t frighten easily, at least not by external stimuli. And thanks to the good folks of America’s pharmaceutical companies, I’m even able to keep the inner demons from making every day a candy-less Halloween. But there is no pill, no powder nor drink -- no escaping the sheer terror that seized my marrow when I laid eyes on L’s fiendish career-maker: “VOLCQIYA: Curse of the Peppermint.” Constructed devilishly around a three-peppermint-motif, L combines iconic seasonal, and habitual images in a seemingly harmless, unspectacular grouping. The message is clear: “Nothing to see here, visitors. Grab your treat and shuffle next door.” And there will undoubtedly be those in the art world (apologies, Gerard!) who will half-wittedly unwrap the shiny gift and swallow it whole. Oh, what a creamy center they’ll miss! L’s ability to create structure out of chaos is bliss; tricolor mints lead us delicately (trapses the cat) to the spiritless witch hat – another trail gone cold on a search for shallow reason. The owl, that all-knowing watchman, seems as lost as the colored, clueless candies at his side – another fable dismissed. And the jack-o-lantern-less pumpkins sit dumb as dirt as the grinning devil waits patiently to unleash the true power of the dark season. It’s impossible to know L’s every meaning, but the Hangman-esque lettering at bottom underscores the true grit of the piece: Take off your mask if you dare. If not, take your candy and be on your way. Which will you choose?

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