ART LTD Magazine
November 2007

“Small Things/Te Voglat”

Alexis Weidig: “Small Things/Te Voglat” at Overtones Gallery
Known primarily for her elaborate, atmospheric, hyper-decorated, expansively cluttered, and carefully staged sculptural installations, L.A.-based artist Alexis Weidig has achieved a good deal of success relatively early in her career. Which is why it is so refreshing that for her latest exhibition with Overtones she chose to challenge herself and her conceptual foundations by paring her aesthetic down to a limited and relatively restrained lexicon. Despite its frequent rococo high notes, “Small Things” is sparse and elegant by comparison; the casual intimacy of its elements marks a remarkable and rewarding surprise. In major pieces like her mixed-media installation Xhuliana’s Prayer (2007), Weidig stays with the conceptual thread of her previous work, culling iconography, sensibility and primary objects from her own background in Orthodox Catholicism and from the ancestral traditions of decoration and superstition. Against a large square of orange-painted wall is arranged an altarpiece featuring, among other things, a statue of a female saint whose flowing azure robe is fashioned entirely from thousands of blue glass beads believed to guard against the Evil Eye. An assortment of offerings such as strings of pearls and artificial flowers, pieces of elaborately carved wooden furniture and ceramic collectibles (all common throughout her work) rests on a tabletop. But her attention to minute detail, keen sense of balance and ability to elicit emotional symbolic narratives from the assemblage of kitsch-laden artifacts and mass-produced decorative items are all in full effect in the smaller works as well.

Vaska (2007) uses a lion-footed wooden table leg, like the stake of a cross, draping it with three s-curve sections of crystal from a chandelier, festooned with artificial flowers and not shy about the gold paint and pearls. It is almost sickly sweet, in its enchantingly small scale and proud, haughty glitziness; but also a tender kind of abandon to the temptation to gild the lily, to over-decorate, to make tiny altars at every opportunity. In Weidig’s capable hands and through her playful, compassionate vision, even the quirkiest characters in her family tree will live on.

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