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The Palm Beach Story, or Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Jack Pierson, My Sin, 2010, metal and wood. Courtesy of the artist and Gavlak Gallery.

Jack Pierson, My Sin, 2010, metal and wood. Courtesy of the artist and Gavlak Gallery.

Gavlak Gallery - Palm Beach

By Jenifer Mangione-Vogt

David McDermott and Peter McGough have been collaborators since the 1980s and are known artistically as McDermott & McGough.

The contemporary-art creators work in painting, photography, sculpture and film and divide their time between Dublin and New York City. In this exhibition, their painting and photographic work was paired beside word sculptures by Jack Pierson, a fellow photographer who works in California and New York.

This clever exhibit featured McDermott & McGough’s found film stills of Hollywood golden-era starlets, which they accentuate with their painted, cartoon-like figures juxtaposed alongside Pierson’s iconic textual sculptures made from repurposed vintage sign letters. Pierson’s phrases, such as “My Sin,” created a narrative for McDermott and McGough’s imagery, which elicited themes of repression, desire, fantasy and a reverence for nostalgia.

Pierson’s glittering photographs of Florida palm trees and McDermott & McGough’s painting of the final still from the classic Lana Turner film Imitation of Life, in which “The End” hovers over a pile of falling diamonds, speaks not only to the seductive and high camp sensibilities of all three artists but to the perfect context of the artists work: the entire mise-en-scène of Palm Beach itself.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

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