It has been a long time since I’ve seen amazingly angst-filled Art, and David Bodhi Boylan comes at the world from all directions. Taking his inner turmoil public has resulted in confronting performances, honest paintings and quirky sculptures. His aesthetic hasa natural grittiness to it which is most evident in his home furnishing series, particularly the chair made from garbage. I bet it’s actually really comfortable.
The themes in Boylan’s work are dark and deal with issues such as depression, a topic he discusses freely, particularly in relation to his childhood homes. In the series titled “What People Really Do in Vermont” (2008), Boylan practices yoga in the middle of a river, which he describes as a passive-agressive attempt to speak his mind. More often than not it get’s harder and harder to say exactly what we feel as society develops at a rapid rate, which is an important element of Boylan’s oeuvre.
Similarly, Boylan’s paintings and sculptures pay close attention to the connections between objects and the body. Reading glasses, beards and hands appear quite a lot throughout his work, probably more so as mediating devices or masks to hide behind. He could also be commenting on the hipster revolution where beards are no longer a sign of being unkempt, but rather exist in irony or as a prized possession, much in the same way a cool hairstyle used to.
Boylan likes to play into our insecurities as viewers in his performance entitled “Bed Bugs and Pubic Lice” (2010) where he carried a used mattress through the gallery space labeled with the words of the title, written in messy, bold handwriting. The continuity that runs through Boylan’s work is one of physicality, of the body in relation to it’s environment and mental state of being. Aside from being very confronting, he tells us: “Sometimes I get sad, sometimes I get mad, and this is how I’m dealing with it.” You really don’t get this kind of honesty anymore.
Text by Marion Piper.