Gehard Demetz, Dirt On My Shoulders, 2016.

Gehard Demetz

New York

Jack Shainman Gallery

“Introjection,” the title of Gehard Demetz’s recent exhibition, is a psychoanalytic term that refers to how people subconsciously absorb and identify with the beliefs and actions of others, particularly children internalizing their perceptions of parental behavior. Demetz’s rubric makes the pre-pubescent figures in the work particularly chilling. The Third Way (2017), for example, depicts a middleschool- age youngster staring disconsolately into space. He carries a gasoline can in one hand and a fire extinguisher in the other as casually as he might tote a bookbag and soccer ball. Will he set or extinguish a fire? Demetz’s subjects exist as innocents who sense the damaged world handed down to them by their adult role models. They appear to be caught in a moral netherworld at that decisive moment when the unconscious self enters consciousness, when the lure of power repudiates innocence, and when they recognize the aloneness of shaping individual identity. Demetz lives in Val Gardena, Italy, a Dolomite town traditionally known for its religious and toy woodcarving. He brings a contemporary twist to Italian craftsmanship and depictions of the human figure in terms of process and subject matter. …see the entire review in the print version of December’s Sculpture magazine.