On the baby mat in front of you, looking up with huge wet eyes, sprawls an obese cherub. He drools while presenting you a slice of watermelon. The figure in this piece, Way Down South I, 2007, is naked, adorned with tight, curly (afro?) hair and conspicuous genitals. The swollen, corpulent figure appears deranged, possibly mentally impaired?
Across the gallery, a second form is suspended from a baby harness, her face just an inch from the blank wall. Even fatter than her partner, her folds of flesh sag and droop around the strapping that suspends her from the ceiling. Her wings are far too small to have ever gotten her flabby torso of the ground.
In her first exhibition for this space, Maria von Kohler presents a series of new objects, originally produced in clay and then cast in fibreglass and coloured. These particular works are linked by a range of sources, spanning toys, trophies, memorabilia, monuments, propagandist artefacts and in particular the long history of mythical childlike figures in sculpture, which culminated in eroticised 18th century putti, amorini and cherubs. The artists practise, characterised by skilfully crafted, figurative sculptures, typically employs a broad amalgamation of references, to produce a rich yet elusive art object that can evade a linear reading.
Maria von Kohler is a graduate of the Royal Academy Schools and divides her time between London and Los Angeles.