A notable entry in the feral art category is on view right now at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York, where Portland-based artist AJ Fosik has installed his wooden sculptures of teeth-bared beasts. As if conjured by some mind-warped slayer god from the future, their names are Rust in Peace-worthy, rife with doom: “Tongues Black as Sticks,” “The Abyss Stares Back,” “Quintessence of Dust.” (For music fans, Fosik’s work also graces the cover of Mastodon’s newest, Billboard-topping album, The Hunter.)
But the sculptures themselves are delicately handmade in Fosik’s woodshop. He builds his wooden skeletons “from 2x4s and framing nails, on top of that goes plywood and gold screws forming muscle and sinew, another layer of wooden flesh over that and finally I skin the beast with lauan chips”–lauan plywood, often recommended for building doll houses and the insides of cabinets. The sculptures consist of hundreds of pieces of individually cut and varnished wood, painted in hypnotic colors, until the teeth, claws, and eyes are installed. Some of them are freestanding, and some are hung on the walls like a mask or a stuffed animal head.
But the centerpiece is “The Shepherd Inevitably Consumes the Flock,” Fosik’s most ambitious piece yet: Five rabbits who look like they’re wearing brown argyle sweater vests are being chased by a beast from the Book of Revelation, with the body of a lion, the face of a wolf, eight mouths for eight dangling tongues, and hands like that of a man seeking wickedness. Business seems to be good! The show is on view until November 19. All images courtesy of Jonathan LeVine Gallery.JG