Clough and Gustavson are long-time friends and collaborators whose styles and practices influence each other often. "Wood, Flesh" brings together a body of self-portraits in which each artist disassembles and reconstitutes their own queer body in arrangements that are at once intimate, political and humorous. The physical materiality of the body is rendered in a plurality of forms: chiseled pine, cast plaster, glossy acrylic and blinking video. As a whole, "Wood, Flesh" is an investigation of the limits of the queer body, frayed at the edges, impaled, penetrated, expelling and ingesting.
In Clough’s photograph "Peter (#notmypresident)," an image created just after the election of Donald J. Trump, Clough’s body is spread spider-like on the floor of a dark basement, a scuffed surface that resembles a celestial star chart. Clough is laughing goofily, eyes crossed, and yet his fingers are clenched tight, betraying pain. His legs are pulled up over his head, and protruding from his asshole is the raw wooden pole of an American flag, flapping gently. In Clough’s large sculptural wall work "Peter (you are what you eat)," a laser-cut photograph depicts Clough bent at the waist, mouth open. An intricate kinetic sculpture surrounds the photograph in which wooden balls, resembling feces, are recycled through holes in the asshole and mouth of the image. Here, Clough becomes the butt of his own joke, his own “locker room talk,” taking on an image of extreme degradation as a gesture of both self-effacing humor and political desperation.
Gustavson’s "Skewer," a towering totem of carved and cast body parts, found objects, and the detritus of daily life, dominates the center of the gallery. At its heart is an eight-foot carved wooden spike that both punctures and supports other objects. Two faces are crudely hewn from laminated Styrofoam; two more are carefully cast from concrete. A hanger, with the iconic “We ❤️ Our Customers” slogan, is impaled through the heart. A roll of toilet paper hangs from a raw oak branch, standing in for an arm. Hair from Gustavson’s dog Kevin peppers the work, a reminder of both deep intimacy and fragility. Six plaster hands extend, perhaps reaching outward, perhaps pulling in. In "Skewer," Gustavson punctuates violent gestures with dark puns and moments of poetic intimacy.