After a couple of days of attending openings for this new season, we stopped by The Lodge Gallery to see Kent Henricksen’s Disharmony in Blue and Gold. This show is captivating, manipulating and controlling all at the same time. The first thing you see as you walk in are a large number of golden stakes that immediately reminded me of Vlad the Impaler; the inspiration behind Bam Stroker’s Dracula. Vlad started torturing insects when he was once jailed by impaling them through sharp sticks and gradually moved on to humans as a way to strike fear and demand respect. He would make his enemies, which he had plenty of, sit through a sharp and thick stake.
Ken’s golden stakes are dominating and intimidating but by painting them gold, he gives them charm and takes away some of the terror. So these can be thought of as ‘symbolic’ stakes – as if he is saying that wealth corrupts and decapitates as easily as any barbaric form of torture. These are ‘gilded’ stakes that many in our society, perhaps, choose to sit on. First you navigate through the labyrinth of these golden stakes, which are close to each other and demand your full attention. Now that he has your complete attention, you can enjoy the intensity of this show which is full of essential details and mystical characters. The paintings are a mixture of silkscreened gold and meticulous embroidery with images from Eastern and Western cultures that alone are disturbing but combined have a balance and harmony. The execution of this show is very impressive. The gallery is painted midnight blue with gold dot stencils, and by using the gallery as his canvas, Kent transports you to his cryptic sinister world full of bizarre archetypes. If you stop by to see this show, make sure you’ve had your coffee because for this one, you have to pay attention.
Kent Henricksen: Disharmony in Blue at The Lodge Gallery
131 Chrystie street, NYC
September 5th – October 5th, 2014
Article and photography by Jamie Martinez