In going from Richardson’s room into E.V. Day’s, you pass from Cretaceous to the Cenozoic. You may be familiar with Day’s work from her series of explore photographs taken while in residence in Monet’s place in Giverny, or her treatment of New York City Opera costumes, or “Brie Fight,” her depiction of female aggression, aspiration and the ritual garments that go with all that. As a thinker, Day visits and re-visits the territory of sex, competition, repression leading to explosion. As in various of her other works, “CatFight” makes generous and dazzling use of monofilament, a trendy material these days; but whereas Cai Guo-Giang and British artist (and Artpace alum) Cornelia Parker use the stuff to defy gravity, for Day it’s a graphic element.
She bristles slightly at the title”sculptor,” and explained at the press event that she’s a “3-D artist,” that she draws in space. Day used roughly twice the amount of monofilament than was needed to hang and anchor her artwork, in order to create a beautiful geometric sectioning - off of the air, and maybe to suggest an ever-tightening net or web.
So, what’s she holding up with it?
Saber-tooth tigers! Day has choreographed a battle royale between the cast replica skeletons of two female saber-toothats. It’s a dazzler, all red in tooth and claw, except she’s deftly applied silver leaf to the the teeth and claws. One of the cats is lunging at the other, and the sheer number of articulated variables in this battle embrace is a spectacle. Her “point” about female-on-female drama and it’s place in human culture is well-made, cruelty seductive and potent; these are the Real Housewives of La Brea.
She’s aldo constructed and placed smaller aluminum puzzle-inspired snake dculupturesarond this suspended moment, each snake an open-mouthed spectator. The gallery notes denote denote them as masculine, and their tongue out expressions do well in evoking the titillated male gaze, and while I liked their design, I didn’t feel their necessity. The catfight is narrative drama and design virtuosity enough without the extra audience; we should be implicated, the snakes seem like an extra step.