Tami Demaree's the kind of girl who won't say no to love, even though for her it's drenched in pop culture like "so much cheap perfume." She wills sincerity into her work when all signs point to ironic resignation.
In her second show at Steven Wolf Fine Arts the young L.A.-based artist continues to produce abjectly comical poetic objects, although this crop looks like the product of a bad acid trip. The collages depict love between monsters and mythical mutating beasts and almost all are mounted on optically dizzying psychedelic posters from the 60s. Sculptures like Hotter than Hell and Light My Tentacles are half drug-in, half monster bash. Octogirl pictures a creature half woman half octopus.
Much of Demaree's work is concerned with redefining the sexual politics of her generation. It's as though Sarah Silverman ditched stand-up for studio art. She's got the emotional grounding for a woman with ambitions to colonize new terrain, and the humor to carry off bad taste. Equally important is the way in which her work toys with the capacity for language and imagery to convey meaning. She once made a bright purple neon sculpture called You Light up My Life, which mocked and negated the value of the pop song clich�, asserted the material fact that it was an actual light, and then somehow, through a mysterious process, actually gave the text a new raw emotional content.
Clearly this work could not have happened without the breakthroughs of feminism, not to mention conceptual art. And perhaps all Demaree's references to a cozy, kitschy seventies are her way of paying off the debt to women who struggled for an equal voice. But she leaves the bunker mentality of those days in the dust, unafraid even to clothe herself in that feminist b�te noire the porn centerfold. In Booby Girl, a six-breasted sex queen with devil horns won't drop that come hither look long enough to drop the pig-tailed baby falling from her uterus; while in Pin-Up, a sudsy playgirl welcomes being albatrossed with a supersized gold padlock around her neck. What used to seem unfathomable now seems charming and what could produce insult provokes mostly laughter.