The artist Porous Walker is a personality inhabited by a guy named Jimmy DiMarcellis. Porous makes art, lots of it. In his new solo show at Receiver Gallery, the walls are packed with plastic toy collages held together by hot glue, inevitable glue strings are unapologetically spider-webbed between the objects. A cluster of balloons hangs from the ceiling, some penned with warnings of self-destruction. On the far side of a large installation of drawings and miscellany on wood, a father and son are painted directly on the wall. The boy asks, "Hey Dad, is that art?" and the father replies, "Heck no son, that's your inheritance melting away."
The gallery's announcement for Porous's Me vs. Me opening celebration said, "Prizes and money will be given away at random throughout the evening," so I figured it would be an opening worth fighting a crowd for, and it was. In spite of my complete disbelief that I'd see any free money, I was handed a fifty-cent piece minutes after entering the gallery. I was squished in with the crowd, so it seemed the artist was on the lookout for newcomers, making sure we got what we came for. An art-purchasing liaison worked the crowd with a clipboard, and I snagged him quickly because I'm a fan of Porous's style and the few dollars in my pocket (plus the free Kennedy coin) were enough for a substantial piece of art.
Some of the drawings are sexually oriented; hence the announcement's warning to think twice about bringing "children, conservatives or uptight, emotionally juvenile mortgage brokers to view the show." There's a doormat made of fake poo on the floor, and it could be said that the installation looks like a creepy clown exploded all over the place. But I found the show enjoyable and particularly perfect for the times. The artist made a generous effort to inspire his crowd. He also paid tribute to fellow creative folks by inviting them to draw on the wall, and by making plastic food portraits of his favorites. Local artists Kelly Tunstall and Ferris Plock are represented as two halves of a plastic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Folk musician Peggy Honeywell is a plastic waffle.
Porous was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and the exhibit is a visualization of his self-help process prior to considering medication. It's unclear whether Jimmy DiMarcellis or Porous Walker is the one suffering from an imbalance, or whether there could have been a misdiagnosis due to the artist's insatiable creative obsessions. Regardless, the show is loaded with heart and humor, and it's Porous's gift to you. If you don't like it, just remember: it's the thought that counts.
Porous Walker's Me vs. Me is on view through May 8, 2009.