Review: Artistic Bootlegging Begins in Cincinnati and Ends in China / Hyperallergic

KANSAS CITY, MO — If Chairman Mao were actually a monkey with prison tattoos, and if Alphonso Taft didn’t have that bump on the left side of his forehead, artists Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis wouldn’t have had as much fun playing with form in their whimsical two-person exhibition at Red Star Studios at the Belger Art Center. Taft and Mao are politically charged figures, yet the work here prefers to deal with ideas of authenticity, cultural appropriation, and blasting an object from the past into the future.

For Parker and Davis, the bump on Taft’s forehead and Mao’s likeness to a monkey are fodder for working with the delicate material of porcelain — or white gold, as Parker calls it — and responding to time and place through objects. Their work draws on American history, decorative arts, Chinese cultural figures, and the language of animals to create a new melting pot made out of porcelain, a material that is one of the hardest to work with in the world, yet yields the finest results.