Bigger and Grander in Fort Worth

Elizabeth speaks quietly but carries a large stick. Chris Powell’s sculpture Elizabeth is enough. An extreme minority: just one, she is enough to keep you company in an otherwise unoccupied gallery space.

Chris Powell's Elizabeth

 

Based on a Sung Dynasty porcelain rabbit that is just 2 1/2 inches long and an inch high, Elizabeth is exaggerated to the opposite end of the spectrum and it is in her larger than large size that she becomes an abstraction on many levels. Depending on how close or far you are to her in the gallery she goes in and out of looking like a rabbit to more disjointed white shapes and polished texture. This abstraction in physical presence is also enhanced by the viewing area which is entered through a long corridor the full length of the gallery unveiling Elizabeth’s quiet and unending patience as she secretly awaits your entrance. The final abstraction for me shows in the quality of an artist making a handmade object on this scale in a world that is too ready to forget the joy of a long days work. Made of plaster, wood, wheels… and such, this sculpture is BIG! It sits on top of a wheeled cart that was literally driven to the gallery on a tow truck bed.
Some may see her as "cute" on steroids or Elephantitis of the Rabbitis, but I prefer to think of Elizabeth as the elephant who has always been in the room. Perhaps she is the sculptural manifestation of the movie Harvey .

1950 poster for Harvey


 

Yes Harvey that 6-foot rabbit in the 1950′s movie starring Jimmy Stewart. Essentially the story of a man whose best friend is a pooka, a benign but mischievous 6 foot 3 1/2 inch tall creature from Celtic mythology who is fond of social misfits and “touched” outcasts. Long story short the lead character drinks a little and may even be mentally ill. His sister sends him to a sanitarium because she can’t stand the embarrassment any longer. This is comedy and tragedy at its best and in very simplified terms the movie asks would you rather have a 6-foot rabbit that no one else sees as your best friend or do you instead want to be "just a normal human being. And you know what stinkers they are…" Personally I think I’d rather see the rabbit. In Fort Worth her name is Elizabeth and if you are lucky you may just see her too before March 3rd at TCU’s Moudy Gallery.
Personally I’m glad I met her.
 

also by Margaret Meehan

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2 responses to “Bigger and Grander in Fort Worth”

  1. “…before March 3rd”…???

  2. Sorry, Randy, this was posted just before our site was hacked in Feb. and the content wasn’t viewable for the past month. Thankfully, our new site is up along with our old content.

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