Arch Enemy Arts Gallery and Boutique
by Mary Anna Rodabaugh
From decapitated dolly heads to things that go bump in the night, Arch Enemy Arts Gallery and Boutique located at 109 Arch Street, had an eclectic selection of imaginative art works this month. The galleries two exhibitions, The Castles of my Mind by Sheri DeBow and The Fourth World by various artists appeared to be conjured up from the deep and at times dark corners of the psyche.
DeBow’s exhibition featured a collection of intricate art dolls, many inspired by Greek mythology and children’s fairytales. Each sculpted art doll had large vibrant eyes and tiny, intricate mouths. When standing in the “sightline” of these artistic creatures, they appeared to be staring right through you.
From puckered lips and downcast eyes to open mouths and wide eyes, DeBow’s ability to portray the dolls’ emotions by emphasizing and downplaying particular facial features is impeccable. This technique adds caliber to her work.
Caliopy Siren from the Sea stretches her claw-like hands as if she is trying to grab whoever passes by. With bright green eyes, blue skin and green and blue rope-like hair cascading down her menacing face, this doll is both intriguing and creepy. She is wearing blue lipstick and a light trail of red blood drips from the right corner of her lip.
In addition to her art dolls, DeBow featured nine “Decapitated Dolly Heads.” Each piece was suspended by a gold hook from the crown of the dolls’ heads. The dolly heads wore a variety of facial expressions ranging from pensive to terrified. The Rabbit decapitated dolly head wore white rabbit ears. This particular doll appeared to be moments away from crying with her large green eyes drooping ever so slightly and her red lips pursed in a pout. A blond dolly head with gold horns protruding out of her yellow pigtails wore a terrified expression. Her red lips were wide open in a silent scream.
DeBow creates these fantastical creatures with the hopes they stir up some type of emotion within her audience.
“I hope you feel something genuine when you view my work. Whether it is joy, laughter, tears, spirituality, anger, struggle, sex, frustration, peace or whimsy, I hope it evokes something true for you. I hope it makes you stop and think. That is why I sculpt and paint. That is why I create,” DeBow wrote on her website.
The fantasy continued in works from The Fourth Word exhibition. Adam Wallacavage’s Paris, Candelabra drew in a steady stream of intrigued visitors. The functional lamp featured blue and pink cephalopod tentacles with small electric candles lit at the end of each arm. Created with wire, masking tape, epoxy clay, lump parts and epoxy resin, this one-of-a-kind piece stood 27” tall and 19” wide.
The level of imagination and creativity presented in these works was incredible. Wesley T. Wright took an ordinary insect and turned it into an extraordinary muse. Using what appeared to be giant pill bugs for inspiration, Wright created three separate sculptures. The first, Big Phone (green) was a large smiling pill bug with hazel eyes, puffy lips and a row of straight teeth. On the underbelly of the bug sat a telephone dial pad. A small antenna protruded from the bug’s head. While this piece was not inherently scary, it brought to mind memories of the Nickelodeon cartoon Aaahh! Real Monsters.
In Feedback, Wright created two pink pill bugs, each with one green eye and one blue eye. The bugs laid opposite of one another, head to receiver, with the same dial pad sculpted onto their bellies. Wright’s third piece, Big Phone (pink) looked like the first bug phone but had green eyes. These unique sculptures were a little creepy, a little cute and certainly had cartoon-like characteristics.
Both exhibits will stir up the imagination, evoke dreams, and perhaps even nightmares. One thing is certain; each work will undoubtedly ignite the start of an interesting conversation.
To view more of Sheri DeBow’s work, you can visit her website at: http://sheridebow.wix.com/sheridebowcreations. Be sure to check out all upcoming shows and exhibits on Archenemy Art’s website at: http://www.archenemyarts.com/
Photography by Archenemy Art’s Gallery and Boutique.