Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cannonball Press at Space

Brooklyn’s Cannonball Press has filled Portland’s Space Gallery with raucous black and white woodcuts and screenprints of a pig race, greasy pole climbers, wrestling, a roller derby and guns. They’re impressively giant – one is 18 feet wide by 10 feet tall – and fun, though they’re too self-consciously badass and undergroundy.

But all flaws are forgiven with their piece de resistance, “Dunkeyballs” (above), a 12-foot-tall sculpture that Mike Houston and Martin Mazorra made from woodcut prints pasted together over a wood and cardboard skeleton. It depicts a stern-faced dude, with a basketball tank top and shorts thrown over his plaid shirt and jeans, riding a charging, bucking donkey. The base proclaims: “Wiles Hill PTA Donkey Basketball Championships/2 Seconds to Go. Mr. Haines from Half Court.” Mr. Haines has one arm forward like a fullback’s stiff-arm and the other arm cocked back with a basketball palmed in his hand. It’s a terrific, ludicrous monument – big and funny and endearingly clunky – to school fundraisers and all sorts of serious/goofy efforts to stoke community spirit.

“Cannonball Press: Donkey Balls,” Space Gallery 538 Congress St., Portland, Maine, March 2 to April 19, 2007.