Found in the Fun House

Locust Projects has some last-minute high jinks up its sleeve

In the Project Room, Kerry Phillips amplifies ordinariness via a riotous tangle of old brooms and rug remnants she must have rifled from every carpet showroom countywide.

She twangs the cord of the everyday with aplomb in "Vacuuming Gave Me Carpal Tunnel," her quasi-ironic installation riffing on notions of domesticity and the growing gulf between technology and old-fangled know-how.

The sweeping piece evokes a sense of a hinterland housewife on the verge of a nervous meltdown, obsessively toiling in the kitchen to clean her cobwebs out.

A section of Manny Prieres's sprawling wall mural at Locust Projects
A section of Manny Prieres's sprawling wall mural at Locust Projects


Through February 28
Locust Projects, 105 NW 23rd St, Miami; 305-576-8570

The installation is broken down into three islands of layered carpet remnants, in varied textures and tones, pocked with buried electrical appliances and the contents of kitchen cabinets preserved in glass jars.

From Phillips's kooky archipelagos, thickets of brooms of every conceivable shape sprout like cornfields, bristles pointing skyward.

Waffle irons, vacuum cleaners, blenders, and toasters are imbedded in the lumps of carpet here and there, trashing the old saw that a woman's work is never done. Baby food jars, given pride of place like a ditzy snow-globe collection, are stuffed with cookie fortunes, seashells, toy figurines, nuts and bolts, and just about everything else but the kitchen sink.

The effect is a chilling nostalgic reflection in which Phillips leads viewers to ponder growing up Stepford, but without smarming it up. Instead of slipping into the hackneyed, she dishes out the banal with plenty of guts and heart. And Locust delivers a surprising shake-and-bake main course that nicely hits the spot.

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