Red Bed (Performance Summer ‘18), Samantha McCurdy, 2018. Galleri Urbane

Visual Arts

New Art To Know This Week: Personal Boundaries and the Power of Suggestion

Samantha McCurdy's candy-colored sculptures packed Galleri Urbane to the brim with visitors, who became voyeurs.

Saturday, Galleri Urbane was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with visitors who turned up dressed to impress in bizarrely vivid, monochromatic looks. I managed to squeeze through the front door past a man wearing a tie that looked like it’d been caught in the eye of a hurricane to the main gallery. There was no possible way, in this crowd, to ambulate in the typical procession and observe the work. My vertically-challenged self had to pogo up and down and turn in place to peep the cheeky sculptures of Samantha McCurdy’s Personal Boundaries. The Los Angeles-based artist used to live and work in Dallas; this is her first solo show at the gallery.

Square panels covered in spandex were painted in summertime colors like a pack of Starbursts. The figures ranged from the explicit— an erection; cold breasts— to geometric, minimal expressions of the same shapes. Pop artists Tom Wesselmann or Allen Jones come to mind when viewing these sculptures for their bright commercial colors, discourse on socially appropriate behaviors, and portrayal of the human body.  

“Clothing is a thin barrier. If you are cold in a grocery store, the outline of your nipples still show through your shirt,”  McCurdy says of the spandex’s failure to politely conceal the figures underneath.

“The different times where we have private moments were we are literally on top of each other like in a public restroom with a partition,” McCurdy explains. “I go to get a hotel room to have sex with my boyfriend and a family that is having a wholesome vacation is on the other side of the wall.”

Starlet and other works in installation view, Samantha McCurdy, 2018.

In addition to the installations, McCurdy produced a performance with composer Ryan Lynch at Galleri Urbane. A bed was covered in red spandex, swathing the shapes of McCurdy’s figure as she moved. This called into question the difference between public and private acts, and how a barrier or fabric can make a taboo topic or action socially acceptable. 

Samantha McCurdy’s Personal Boundaries is on at Galleri Urbane until May 5.

Other notable shows that opened this weekend: Francisco Moreno’s The Chapel and Accompanying Works at the Erin Cluley Gallery through May 19, and Linear Abstraction through May 26 at Barry Whistler.

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