Minneapolis artist Scott Stulen’s paintings and installations rely on the juxtaposition of form, technique and material to elucidate and focus tensions between individual experience and the shared memory of a certain not-so-distant era awash in cultural detritus. In “It’s very beautiful and very cold,” the show’s largest and most accomplished painting, Ferris Bueller’s buddy Cameron’s Highland Park house is blockily portrayed amidst sinuous foliage more loosely rendered. The mirage-like effect gives the artist a sense of personal ownership for the scene experienced outside the VCR—the fictive scene becomes a tangible experience, perhaps even piggybacked with Cameron’s abandonment issues resolved in the crackling of glass and the destruction of Daddy’s Ferrari.
Most successfully, the sculpture “Tree” seems to be built solely on the contrasts of a confused childhood holiday. A long pole has been stuck into the disembodied pillar of a lost pier, with a sad silvery Christmas tree branch attached to the pole like the limp tail of a coonskin cap and holding a single blue bulb ornament. The piece is awash with contrast and conflicted emotion. Winter and summer lose themselves in themselves. Sledding and opening presents is conflated with cannonballs into the lake and fishing with Pop. The mixed-up emotions result in an overall sense of melancholy, the sense that time misremembered is time lost, the past is just that, the door shut to confusing sensations like fireworks at Halloween. (Erik Wennermark)
Through January 2, 2010, at Ebersmoore gallery, 213 N. Morgan, 3C.