New York painter Thomas Woodruff is obsessed with rockets. In "All Systems Go," a two-part show at P.P.O.W. and Debs & Co., are his paintings and works on paper, all featuring a silvery space ship, similar to those in cheesy sci-fi moves from the 1950s. The space craft works metaphorically as a sign of hope and optimism that one day humanity may be transported effortlessly to new and better worlds, leaving all mundane cares and worries behind.
The part of the show at P.P.O.W. is called "Mission Poesy," and features large (some 90-inches tall) acrylic-on-canvas paintings in the shape of gothic arches. They show over-the-top fanciful scenes of men dressed up as swans and skunks frolicking in quasi-surrealist landscapes. A rocket ship always appears in the background. In the mesmerizing Hyacinth Arsonist, a nude woman starts a fire with a magnifying glass while a rocket ship waits behind her.
At Debs & Co. Woodruff presented "Mission Anemone," a series of emblematic works featuring pairs of creatures called "Slug Fairies." He even provided elegantly upholstered benches for viewers to relax and contemplate the scenes as they became completely seduced by the work.
Thomas Woodruff, "All Systems Go," Nov. 18-Dec. 23, 1999, at P.P.O.W., 476 Broome Street, New York, N.Y. 10013, and Debs & Co., 529 W. 20 St., New York, N.Y. 10011.