Review: "King Dogs Never Grow Old" in Artillery Magazine

by Avery Wheless

Jan. 23, 2020

Diane Rosenstein Gallery’s exhibition, King Dogs Never Grow Old, curated by Brooke Wise, invites us into a display of the uncanny, rocking traditional senses of stability and instead, celebrates the nonsensical. The show’s title, borrowed from the surrealist text, Les Champs Magnétiques (The Magnetic Fields) by André Breton and Philippe Soupault, set the stage for this integration of surrealist notions within a contemporary dialogue.

Perhaps most influential in achieving this direct reference to surrealism is the curation of the group show itself. Bouncing between paintings, sculptures, ceramics, works on paper, and wall hangings the show features artists Ginny Casey, Sam Crow, Tom of Finland, Haley Josephs, Jillian Mayer, Haley Mellin, Robert Moreland, Rose Nestler, Scott Reeder, Matthew Sweesy, Chris Wolston and Bri Williams.

The show captivated as the spacious gallery allowed for exploration and nuanced discovery of conversation between each piece. One might reason that experiencing the eclectic works in a cohesive setting functioned as an interactive “exquisite corpse.” Despite discrepancy in medium and execution, each piece relates to the other in its success of taking what we know and incorporating a dose of the unexpected, encouraging connection through this lens despite idiosyncrasy.

As a whole, all works were quite beautifully and whimsically bizarre, yet some were subtler than others. Robert Moreland’s paintings, for example, became sculptural as their canvases curved and bent inwards before fluctuating back out, their form challenging a paintings traditionally flat surface. Ginny Casey’s dreamlike painting Balancing Cat, depicts a plate of fruit featuring a banana balanced on top of a cat-like creature’s bulbuls body. Others, like Scott Reeder’s text-based painting, Three Letter Word Band Names displays a seemingly nonchalant brainstormed list of handwritten band titles on a large canvas—now elevated and now hung on display in comedic, yet earnest presentation (some personal favorites were “DAD WAR”, “THY ASS” and “WAS HOT”). Meanwhile, Rose Nestler’s oversized hung garments demanded attention in their engaging and perverse sexuality. One sports bra like piece hangs in hyperbolic largess. Each nipple featuring whistle pasties, tantalizing in their humorous and possibly interactive state. Chris Wolston’s woven wicker chair, Nalgona, incorporates human-like arms and legs in its structure. I was truly delighted as I walked around to its backside and found that it indeed featured an anatomically referential backside under its seat.

Ultimately, King Dogs Never Grow Old rejects tendencies of self-righteous seriousness in its humorously erratic display. Each artist celebrates the beauty in the absurd, granting comedic relief pulled from the chaos of life itself.

King Dogs Never Grow Old 
Diane Rosenstein Gallery
January 4 – February 1, 2020