Femininity: Many Reflections (Salli Babbitt)
LIT. FIG. (L. Brandon Krall)
Deborah Colton Gallery
through June 30
Deborah Colton’s austere third-floor gallery vibrates with energy this month as two artists take on femininity and language with a highly subjective eye. As more art businesses open in the warehouse on Summer Street,
Salli Babbitt has focused her sculpture on the flashpoint image of the Barbie doll for years, literalizing an American bipolar relationship with the action figure that has lasted through three generations. Her mutilations, humiliations and disfigurement don’t quite take the extra step of being gory, softening her critique of the forlorn idol. In rows across a canvas or wrapped around a cone in an ad-hoc altar Barbie’s are alternately red, gray or glittery, gold and other colors creep onto other paintings as well. Wall sconces are a favorite of the artist; The Three Graces, Pompeian Orgy and others occupy the well-lit gallery overlooking David Addicks’ gigantic Beatles statues in the parking lot next door. Too awkward to be Pop, too minimal to be teenage angst, Babbitt charts her own awkward course working with molded plastic females. Babbitt has also included disjointed abstract paintings, some with scrawled handwritten letters scratched into wet paint. Owing much to her charitable work with Multiple Sclerosis patients and physically disadvantaged persons, these works are a labor of love for the artist but take away from the show overall.
Half of an all-out assault on