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Robb Putnam
Walter Maciel Gallery, Culver City, California
Recommendation by Jody Zellen

Robb Putnam, “Visitor,” 2017, nylon, fabric, wire, glue and mixed media, 60 x 19 x 14”

In his exhibition “Interlopers,” Robb Putnam presents works on paper and new sculptures comprised of strangely enigmatic animal forms sewn together from a wide range of fabrics and re-purposed materials including parachutes, army blankets and drop cloths. Putnam's stuffed animals have a rag-tag appearance — they are an amalgamation of fabric fragments and hanging threads. In “Interlopers,” Putnam presents bears and coyotes as well as mouse-like creatures. Many hang on the wall from a single screw. This causes them to droop, giving the once powerful animals a sunken, pathetic appearance and forlorn appeal. Putnam's creatures from the wild have been tamed and appear to be drained of life, yet they are powerfully seductive. Putnam carefully installs these interlopers and arranges them carefully on the gallery walls.

For example, some of the sculptures of bears face forward while others are presented from the side, as if in motion. The coyotes also have life-like qualities, yet in Putnam's world they are fragile. Disembodied heads as well as flattened puppet-like creatures resembling large-eyed mice are reminiscent of well worn children's toys. In addition to these evocative sculptures, Putnam's menagerie also includes a grid of 72 drawings depicting a cast of characters he calls “Sleep Cells.” These black ink drawings present a cast of intertwined cartoony creatures that have a coy appeal. Putnam's works are simultaneously playful and cautionary — they evoke childhood memories that traverse the relationship between the real and imaginary.

Walter Maciel Gallery

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