Review of Chimera Among Us

Art Papers
May 2007

Review of Chimera Among Us
By Diana McClintock

Perched near the ceiling, small four-legged creatures watch over hoofed tree worms, flower-bird-Persian cats, nail-anemones, and an armored shrimp in Chimera Among Us [Whitespace Gallery; May 16-June 2, 2007].  Julia Hill’s colonies of hybrid bronze, steel, and ceramic creations assertively coexist with Caroline Smith’s anthropomorphic ceramic forms in the intimate spaces of the gallery.  The effect is charming and repulsive, fantastic and familiar, fragile and fearsome.

Both artists present animal or plant-like concretions that recall the mythological lion-goat-snake Chimera.  In the series Anatomy of Your Memory, 2007, Smith pairs ceramic and glass worm or tentacle-like forms in a duet that could be hostile or tender. Her intention is, in fact, to explore interpersonal aggression while encouraging compassion and connection.  Reaching upward, the pairs bend towards each other.  Their overlapping shadows become part of their still ballet, activating the space around us.  A single bony claw graces the bottom of each anthropomorphic ceramic figure’s hoofs, enhancing the creatures’ chimera quality while rendering them both strange and familiar.

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