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Jane Margarette at Anat Ebgi


The first piece I encountered at Jane Margarette’s solo show, A Honey of Tangle, was a cartoonishly oversized pink ceramic latch, held in place with a turning padlock. The artwork, Latch 3 (2019), implies a kinetic motion, a theme that continues across the works on view. 

In the main gallery, more locks and latches take the shape of fantastical birds and butterflies, each given an implied sense of movement. Hinges, hasps, and latches abound, often held in place with delicate ceramic chains or twee baubles that ornament the sculptural wall works. Chase a Rainbow (2022) takes the form of a large luna moth, its lime green wings hinged and notched around two latches, a delicate chain dangling from each like an oversized necklace. Ornamenting the chain are small glazed lemons and strawberries, adding more style than security. 

Margarette’s fantastical birds and butterflies also share space with more threatening beasts — one work takes the form of a large bat, with a ceramic knife acting as its locking mechanism. Still, these more threatening characters and flourishes feel harmless, more of a cheeky send up to grim subject matter than actual rumination of it. In that sense, Easy Daisy (2021) — a wall mounted lock with a spiked dog collar dangling down from a pastel chain — seems to deflate its own premonition of danger even as it alludes to it. Despite their mechanical or bestial forms, the sculptures’ candy-coated aesthetic allows them to evade any real premonition of danger and instead flirt with a kind of cutesy, teenage goth nostalgia.

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Photo: Jane Margarette, Chase a Rainbow, 2022. Ceramic, glaze, 74 x 43 x 5 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Anat Ebgi Gallery. Photo: Matthew Kroening.