There is an awkward moment at the top of a roller coaster when, after the slow, panic-filled ascension towards the inevitable drop into the unknown, everything vanishes and your awareness of the structure is temporarily disabled as you are thrust out into the sky. And then it happens: you tip over the edge and the moment is lost forever. Such perhaps is the present work of artist Gary Justis. Building upon a visual language he has developed for well over two decades, the sculptures, drawings and multimedia work on display at Alfedena Gallery are very much about formalizing time and place into an alternative version of those realities that escapes the often fleeting nature of formlessness. The works featured in “Plush” offer a gentle, impressionistic interpretation of Justis’ musings on childhood experiences, yet is far from sentimental due to a masterful balancing act between the decidedly quirky and the decidedly sincere. Thus having chiseled away at the inner workings of memory, “Plush” offers a stunning glimpse at what famed psychologist Julian Jaynes refers to as the “insubstantial country of the mind!” (Steven Wirth)
Gary Justis shows at Alfedena Gallery, 434 West Ontario, (312)944-4340, through October 6.