Alison Ragguette debuts new Melanin Series at Launch LA

Annabel Osberg, Artillery, March 28, 2018

Alison Petty Ragguette‘s sculptures voluptuously incarnate equivocal tensions between nature and artifice. Evincing Ragguette’s versatility in ceramics and sculpture, “Visceral Bandwidths” at Launch LA debuts her new “Melanin” series alongside examples from recent bodies of work. These elegant but slightly uncouth hybrids of porcelain, glass and rubber evoke biotechnological experiments gone precariously awry. Each sculpture appears as a polished bibelot that gradually betrays unsavory facets upon inspection. Hairlike threads stick to the surface of an ungainly form resembling a candied, bugle-legged roast turkey in Hot Air (2016). Glaze trickles over white pedestals. Emanating from a chrome pipe in Double Trap Spill (2015), slimy jade seepage engulfs plastery conchs, pooling into a chartreuse glaze puddle that perspires deliquescent lemon globules. Entropy counters restraint; sinuousness circumvents rigidity; matte translucence contrasts with gloss. This interplay occurs most concisely in her “Melanin” hanging wall sculptures embodying cleaner silhouettes and a more subdued palette of ombré cream to chocolate. Here, splanchnic rubber drops drip from calcareous porcelain pipes, channeling protoplasmic issues. As you gaze, spouts become bonelike, the fleshy gobbets they exude resembling bulbous bird toes or grotesquely deformed human appendages. But everything is mutable; nothing is quite as it appears. Unassumingly inscribed on the side of the conduit in Melanin #1 (2018, pictured above), “Go Girl” apparently denotes the brand of female urinal from which it was cast. Ragguette is inspired by biomimicry, which, some argue, assumes an inherently arbitrary anthropocentric attitude segregating people from other creatures. In an increasingly populated world, Ragguette’s sculptures propound this question: Where does synthetic end and natural begin?

Launch LA 
170 S. La Brea Ave., upstairs 
Los Angeles, CA 90036 
Show runs through Apr. 7