Chris Thorson. Street Smart, 2012. Gouache on hydrocal. 13 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 1 inches. Courtesy of gallery


In physics, the term “half-life” references the exponential decay of matter, or the time it takes for something to fall to half it’s value. In Chris Thorson’s first solo show at Rena Bransten Gallery “Half-Life” the principal is applied to one’s personal and emotional attachments to objects, and the rate at which this bond may decay.



Chris Thorson. Complainer, 2012. Gouache on hydrocal. 11 1/2 x 13 3/4 x 1 inches. Courtesy of gallery

Chris Thorson. Lost (Pink Ski), 2012. Mixed media on hydrocal. 9 3/4 x 4 x 1 3/4 inches. Courtesy of gallery


Her show consists of cast sculptures in the form of t-shirts, from indigo dyed thermals to Bart Simpson fandom.  Unpaired gloves, including a “Lost (Pink Ski)”, are precariously displayed on the floor where people narrowly avoid stepping on it, determining it’s artwork not a second too soon. Boxes of rejected supermarket produce (one forlorn box of bad apples mostly hidden behind an opening crowd in the corner) amounts to an Island of Misfit Toys; objects purposeless once lost, lingering on, mascots of a cycle that will repeat itself perpetually.



Chris Thorson. Boxed In (High Country), 2012. Mixed media on hydrocal, acrylic on paper pulp, found cardboard box. 9 1/2 x 20 x 14 inches. Courtesy of gallery

Chris Thorson. Boxed In (Blue Eyed Dragon), 2012. Mixed media on hydrocal, acrylic on paper pulp, found cardboard box. 16 x 25 x 22 1/2 inches. Courtesy of gallery


Thorson has a background in sculpture, and her skill and attention to detail are apparent as the pieces can easily fool anyone at first glance, though I wouldn’t exactly call the objects themselves sculptures. Less about the specifics of the mass and volume they occupy, the fine texture and attention to shadows and light work as a still life do; meditating on something ordinary, but aesthetically significant. They could further be interpreted as contemporary “momento mori”, the classical moralizing symbols.  Though instead of forcing one to consider their own mortality, we are faced with the life and death cycle of the stuff we consume; things which really have no death, but rather a very long afterlife.


“Half Life” will be on view until May 4th, 2013.  For more information please visit Rena Bransten Gallery.


-Contributed by Kathryn McKinney