Beth Katleman, Arcadia, USA, 2017

Beth Katleman, Arcadia, USA, 2017

Beth Katleman, Arcadia, USA, 2017

“Arcadia” suggests a mythic world in harmony with nature, uncorrupted by civilization.  At first glance, the mood is celebratory: cherubs frolic in idyllic landscapes, swags of delicate porcelain flowers and pearls cascade down the wall and tiny babies descend on hot air balloons. Come closer, however, and the details hint at more sinister goings-on.  In one scene, a young girl kneels next to a baby in a basket, and gazes up at a giant clown.  Is she striking some sort of Faustian bargain?  In another surreal scene, a series of Marie Antoinette’s sprout from the flower garden, watched over by a huge squirrel.  The denizens of this strange world are not noble savages but kitsch refugees from the flea market and the toy box.  The delicacy of the handmade roses and the opulent white porcelain stand in contrast to the kitsch flea-market trinkets that populate this world.  Consumer culture has invaded the pristine garden.  The disembodied heads hanging from jewelry chains suggest that the price of staying in this odd paradise may be too high altogether.

Katleman’s sculptures and installations have been described by Ken Johnson in the New York Times as “doll-sized Rococo theaters of murder and domestic mayhem.”

Dimensions: 60h x 66w x 12d inches

Porcelain and wire

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