Darla Jackson vs. Anne Canfield @ CFEVA
January 31st, 2009
Darla Jackson vs. Anne Canfield @ the Center for Emerging Visual Artists is just that – a bare knuckled cage-fight between two contemporary Philly artists, a grrl-fight for attention, a battle of wits and inventiveness, like a schoolyard brawl with each girl trying to rip out the others pierced earrings. In one corner is Anne Canfield throwing punches with quirky drawings and mythological paintings and in the other corner is Darla Jackson doing body slams with bold black graphic sculpture.
Anne Canfield tells DoN that her imagery is born of anxiety, “the Cat is safe but could turn on you.” Anne has developed her own visual language relying on memory and is not true to nature, that’s not what she’s going for – her mark-making is assured and brushwork amusing, like reading a favorite book. The small cat is sometimes writ large in Canfield’s images often with a small girl (perhaps a self portrait), each staring at the other as if they were, “facing God.”
Darla Jackson, known for her sculptures of animals wearing the masks of other animals (say a bunny with a crow face mask), here invites familiar animals to witness the party in the apartment-like gallery. Birds, kitties, bunnies, even a life sized deer inhabit the human dwelling, decked out in festive party hats, making a mess of the place as if they were partying just a little too hard. Jackson goes for the knockout with the deer laying on the floor; life sized and appearing to be solid black metal, the scene is poignant with gallery visitors tiptoeing around the specimen, the deer’s simple red party hat knocked askew. By anthropomorphizing the animals, Jackson brings the creatures out of hiding making them observers of the strange creatures called humans.