Duncan Anderson’s newest exhibition at Kasia Kay Art Projects, a continuation of his miniature sculptural tableaus and fantastical figurines, is fascinating in its meticulous storytelling. Anderson toys with train-set men and dollhouse furniture, creating architectural-style models of strange worlds and fantasy narratives. The titles invoke mysterious stories of tiny, mundane heroes and heroines. An amputee octopus with little-girl legs clutches a harp on the first day of school. A policeman and his dog are locked in a face-off with another officer, trapped in a desolate landscape.
Resting on mismatched shelves, columns and pedestals, Anderson’s characters huddle together in the small gallery space like a forgotten back room of Grecian statuary. Yet, instead of marble, the common materials are cheap plastic and gift-shop souvenir porcelain. Working on such a miniature scale allows for a play between the charming and the strange, but the crushed velvet and tacky painted surfaces are slightly repulsive. The size, as it draws one closer, begs for a kind of craftsmanship that is lost beneath a plastic pallor.
Within the individual sculptures lie arresting juxtapositions of familiar and alien worlds. However, viewed as a whole, the exhibit is less coherent because the range in the sizes of the characters is wildly varied. Anderson’s experiment—and his problem—is scale. (Julia V. Hendrickson)
Through March 20 at Kasia Kay Art Projects, 215 N. Aberdeen St.