Jason Tecson / Terror Decor at West Gallery

jpt-ins-31
Apex and Mask, 2013, polyurethane sculpture, Installation View: West Gallery

Against the unwieldy physical stature associated with monumental sculptures, Tecson’s creatures appear almost farcically feeble, void of the ostentatious tradition of his artistic precedents and behave more like loaded figurines. He effectively and a bit roguishly, undermines the canons of sculpture. The superficially solid body is overstated but becomes a flimsy vessel for unworldly appearances. His masks plays upon the devices of function: they are not wearable, unless by one of his elaborate monsters that serves to give a face to a hollow shell of a figure posed in an act of ruin. Drawing reference to a host of styles across sculptural movements, his intentionally gawky forms trade the high and enduring qualities of monumental bronze or marble for the humble aesthetic and manipulability of fiberglass. His sculptures appear physically imposing and powerful in their size and positioning yet fragmented and vulnerable in their construction. To build these works, he begins with a formation of clay and then replicates this as a styrofoam maquette before making the mold and then adds layers of fiberglass. When he settles with the texture, he finishes the work with coats of automotive paint. Some of his works incorporate the burns created by the resin solution on the styrofoam. Intended deformation is turned into decoration as if trying to wrestle a shape from a conceptual form. That each object, whether more human or more beast, stands on a pedestal, posing for the viewers, emphasizes their edified thingness and the tension between what they call into mind and what they actually appear to be.

His subjects lean to the mythological; the rough assemble and haphazard forms both disclose his process and a sense of reserve. Apex, a semblance of a sandman made from Fiberglass resin-soaked styrofoam wrapped over a skeletal support stands as a abject tribute to Jean Dubuffet; while Pipe, literally a blown-up pipe, almost mockingly harks back to Rene Magritte. His works are loaded with things like that and throughout Jason Tecson’s work is ingrained a reinvention of art historical considerations and their connotations, challenging these preconceptions by morphing them together. He creates his own alternative characters, pointing to a more intimate and esoteric source suggestive of our primal fears.

Monstrous yet unthreatening, Apex— part-human, part-beast—is in a midway pose between walking and crumbling, a Goliath weighted on the bulk of its hands and feet. Tecson’s sculpting investigates conventional aesthetic boundaries and artlessness. The exhibition, Terror Decor, represents both a hopeful addition and a stark reminder of non-ambitious ventures in the sculptor’s production, one that nods affectionately to the contemporary riddles and enduring archetypes chosen from the margins of seemingly familiar monsters and their myths. – Geronimo F. Cristobal, Jr.

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