By Terry Trucco
It’s as if someone filled a room with Gummy Bears, only these are big enough to eat you instead of the other way around.
We’re talking about Bear Forest, the Spanish artist dEmo’s installation of 30 life-size bear sculptures, identical in style though not in size or color, in the LAB Gallery, the corner storefront art gallery at the Roger Smith Hotel near Grand Central Station.
Each month or so the LAB displays a new installation meant to be viewed 24/7 through the windows. Viewers can’t enter the space. But you can see the art from different angles and perspectives depending upon where you stand. Indeed, the reflecting qualities of the glass add unexpected elements to the installation like the nearby high-rise buildings – and you – making the bears, in this instance, less isolated than in a classic art gallery.
You cans also see the art in passing, a fleeting swath of primary colors modeled by some very big bears. It’s culture on the fly.
dEmo’s Pop-inflected art, often seen in outdoor public spaces, mixes color and elements of surprise. His Missoni Michelangelo, unveiled in Barcelona’s Paseo de Gracia in 2010, is a replica of the artist’s David garbed in the chic stripes of a Missoni knit.
La Lola is a lifesize rendering of the Venus de Milo sporting a Flamenco comb. Like his Bear Forest creatures, La Lola comes in multiples, each rendered in fiberglass, polyester and resin in a different primary or Day-Glo color. His specialty is making you see familiar things in a different way and discover hidden meanings in them.
Which brings us to the bears. Grouped together these benign creatures seem at once whimsical and sinister. It’s a teddy bear’s picnic, but what are they plotting?
You have until March 30 to find out.
The LAB Gallery is at the Roger Smith Hotel, Lexington Avenue at 47th Street.