Boston Globe review by Cate McQuaid
In her first Solo Exhibition in Boston, Barbara Gallucci presents large scale wood and aluminum sculpture, a series of 20" x 30" color photographs and a video installation which examine the intersections between Sculpture, Furniture, and Design. Gallucci describes this overlap as "a hybrid situation where the role of function collapses and compounds."
Barbara Gallucci's sculptures start out as "replicants" of specific and well known mid-century Modernist furniture but they are disrupted and transformed in the construction process. By making an icon of Modern Furniture, the Le Corbusier Le Petit Confort chair and sofa, 50 % larger and carefully constructing both out of plywood and aluminum pipe instead of black leather and chrome, Gallucci seeks to "embody a 'wrongness' in scale and aberrant materiality." "The belief that standardized parts and modern manufacturing techniques would make great designs affordable to every man was the cornerstone of a utopian template in which art and design could cross class boundaries and become the great social equalizer", observes Gallucci. These objects directly confront the optimism of 1950's with a contemporary example of what has ended up affordable: Doing-it-yourself.
The video installation, Do-It-Yourself consists of an over sized replica of a George Nelson's Platform Bench ( made of raw Home Depot 2 x 4s) and a video projection with two sound tracks; one is of the ambient sounds of forklifts and and customers from the Home Depot (where it was filmed). The second track is dialog from Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. The image is a low point of view from a camera being wheeled around Home Depot to the continuous loop of two speeches in which the character Willie Loman alternates between inflated optimism and dark disappointment. When the cart spins in the lumber aisle, images blur together as overwhelming sensations of confusion, consumption and desire prevail. Anything seems possible in Home Depot.
The color photographs of late 1950's Chicago Ranch Houses bring this investigation home. Using the Chicago suburb where she grew up as a survey of standardized post-war design, Gallucci walks us past the green yards and cookie-cutter incarnations of the 3 designs used in the roughly 20 block area of Des Plaines. Shot straight on ("Becher" style) and laid out side by side against a grass green wall, the variation of each house in this small suburb offers a "micro-view" of the larger social history in which order was promised through conformity.