Review by Chad Michael Cox
Artist: Josh Sorrell | Venue: Ankeny Art Center | Exhibit: October 3rd – November 29th
Josh Sorrell’s “Jolly” (detail)
At first glance, Broken, resembles a painted garage sell; not the kind that leads to an undiscovered Picasso treasure, rather, one held in a back woods area with a detached garage where displayed items sit haphazardly atop unstable folding
tables and rusted out pull wagons–fragile items poured out from a cardboard box by a disgruntled teenager who recently lost their license after an illegal trifecta of drinking, smoking, and speeding. The viewer feels uncomfortable, forced to appraise the value of broken, ceramic objects otherwise rejected by the thrift store:
Jolly depicts a classic Santa figure perfect for holiday displays
except for the massive ho‐ho‐hole where the belly, once filled with “jelly”, now reveals emptiness inside. Useless takes the duck out of the rub‐a‐dub tub, kicks it around the tiled restroom, and gives it a toothbrush to use as a crutch.
Josh Sorrell’s “Hollow” (source)
Hollow–boasting a classic porcelain doll look–offers a mirage of beauty,
contrasting rouge cheeks and internal scars with stunning impact. Indeed, as the viewer rummages through the shattered remains of discarded “junk”, we soon discover a formidable exploration by the artist of personal and cultural identity. Sorrell seems to ask, “What remains of the broken?” And when the viewer first hears this whispered question, what remains is discovered treasure–justification for making one more stop at that shady‐looking garage sale.
Chad Michael Cox is an award winning author and freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications since graduating from the writing program at Emerson College in Boston, MA. He spent his youth at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and now lives in Iowa with his wife and three children. Read more.