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david ebony's top ten

laura stein at basilico fine arts

Nov. 22 - Dec. 20, 1997  

Cactus Outside

Cat Inside
   In this striking exhibition titled "On the Inside," Laura Stein, a young New York-born artist, presents eight color photographs, five cast-acrylic sculptures displayed on waist-high pedestals, and a video projected above a transom between two rooms of the gallery. There is a conceptual unity to the show, but each of the components, dealing with notions of outside/inside, could well stand on its own. The photographs are images of outdoor nature scenes -- flowers, sea and sky. They look overexposed or bleached out, as if while developing the negatives, the artist flung open the darkroom door for a milisecond, exposing the negatives to the light on the outside.

The inside/outside idea continues in the clear resin sculptures, which measure no more than two feet in any dimension. The outer forms are in the shapes of plants or animals. But each has an interior space hollowed out in the shape of a different animal or vegetable form. For instance, Mushroom Inside, molded in the shape of a strawberry, has a hollow interior carved in the form of a mushroom. Cactus Outside, one of my favorite works in the show, is a cactus shape with a faintly visible leafy vine carved out of the interior. In Mouse Inside, a rodent with a long winding tail appears to be embedded in the head of an antelope.

The video is also and inside-out exploration, as a meandering camera captures a walk through the maze of an English garden. Wispy but intense strains of music on the soundtrack, which was performed by the artist's friend Kid Congo of the band Congo Norell, add to overall effectiveness of this translucent, light-filled exhibition.

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