Amidst the deluge of blockbuster exhibitions sprinkled across the city, one of the most understated shows to catch is Vincent Fecteau at the Art Institute . Despite the near absence of any promotional material outside the FOCUS gallery (relegated to the womb of the already secretive Modern & Contemporary wing), Fecteau’s ouevre is arguably the most deserving of special attention. Yet, it is perhaps its cavernous location–one of the very few rooms in the entire museum with no gateway leading elsewhere–that the works exist in an almost prenatal condition and evoke a similar sense of serenity and beauty.
The set of papier mache works–a departure from Fecteau’s erstwhile adaptation of collage as primary medium, are intimate in size, and ranging in color. However, despite the latter’s range, most works are merely bi-chromatic, which creates an unexpected bifurcation of the bodies on which the pigment is applied and demands closer inspection. Fecteau starts by modeling sheets of papier mache on a beach ball, and then thoroughly twisting, folding, redacting, tearing, adding and pressing to form the final product. The outcome is inevitably organic and multifarious. There is no strict frontality, and glancing at the sculptures at pedestal level is as curiosity provoking as hovering several feet above them. Fecteau leaves only minor (and even then, at the very least ambiguous) hints at what could be deduced from the sculptures: a buckle, lapel and a hem on one; a tub, a spinal ridge, and an almost undeniably vaginal fold on another. However, there is no right or wrong and the works appear to recede from conclusiveness as they morph from one phase to another with nebulous agility. Nonetheless, cohesiveness if present, and the works exist in a dialogue with one another, as if sharing an inside joke, or better yet–a secret.
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