May 21 - July 9, 2016
AA|LA is pleased to present “Worm,” a solo exhibition of new work by New York-based artist Dan Herschlein. The exhibition features three sculptures constructed from wood, plaster, and pigment, as well as a series of shadowy graphite drawings burnished with wax. In these psychically charged works, partial figurative forms in various states of physical trauma lay festering in sinister domestic settings. Two meticulously crafted boxes situated on the gallery floor are propped open like grim Polly Pockets to reveal unsettling domestic scenes. The larger of the two cases, titled “Worm,” houses an entire section of a room in which an exposed body lies ridden with holes that allude to the sculpture’s title. Fingers huddle like fly larvae in the panes of a window above. As if possessed, the artwork intermittently leaks water to form a small pool on the floor.
In the horror stories that Herschlein favors most, a malevolent creature stalks the protective walls of a home or body. Similarly, the headless figure in Herschlein’s “Loon” gazes in from behind the panes of an open window. Several fingers appear curiously from under a worn t-shirt as though reaching to lift the sash and enter. Nearby, a beautifully crafted “Hope Chest” harbors a truncated torso crawling with errant fingers, while a side table punctures the flesh with its front leg. Similar to “Worm,” this piece is not entirely benign: a cell phone haphazardly vibrates from within a slightly open drawer.
“Worm” corresponds with the third and final installment of the artist’s series of novellas, written as the narrative accompaniment to three recent solo presentations of work. Each text follows a narrator who either witnesses or is subjected to bodily mutilation and degradation. Part one, “By the Shade That Wanders,” was printed on the occasion of Herschlein’s solo presentation in SIGNAL’s booth at Nada New York in spring of 2015, and part two, “The Enthusiast” accompanied his solo exhibition at JTT, New York last fall.
This is Herschlein’s second solo exhibition in Los Angeles. He is represented by JTT in New York, NY. Special thanks to Marie Catalano.