A clay-and-fabric mongoloid creature that looks part lobster and part human lies sprawled across the floor like a fish out of water, gasping for air. A bright-blue couch in the corner sports several sets of lips, as well as a tiny, plush monster sitting on top that bears a clear resemblance to it—as though the couch-creature has borne a little baby.
“It’s sort of like a weird Pee-Wee’s Playhouse kind of thing,” says Jessica Kostelnick of her new installation, Living Hand to Mouth, on display at The Tan gallery in Barelas. The interior—composed of mediums including furniture, sculpture and costume—does evoke a certain fun-house feel, straddling the balance between childlike playfulness and disturbing distortion.
She points to a chair shaped like an enormous set of teeth. “This denture chair, or the dent-chair,” she says, “I put so much work and—literally—blood and pain into it, and I love it so much. You should try to sit it in it,” she says. “You have to kind of sit back, but it’s really stable.”
“It’s sort of like a weird Pee-Wee’s Playhouse kind of thing.”
“I like food and animal and human parts all merging like an evil scientist or something,” she says. “I was working on a lot of these things individually for a long time. And then they all sort of ended up fitting together, which was wonderfully perfect.”