When Consumer Goods Blossom into Otherworldly Fungi / Hyperallergic

Benjamin Lord, “The New Retail Mycology VII” (2015) (all images courtesy the artist)

Benjamin Lord, “The New Retail Mycology VII” (2015) (all images courtesy the artist)

LOS ANGELES — Benjamin Lord’s grossly delectable photographs, on view in his exhibition The New Retail Mycology at Monte Vista Projects, invite viewers to closely consider the social construction of a landscape. In each of the seven photographs on display, viewers encounter a mixture of organic and manmade materials arranged in some sort of amorphous, non-linear structure. Recognizable, store-bought objects become part of forms that one could easily imagine growing in the trash, a strange amalgamation of organisms and consumer rubble. The cleanly designed frames and perfectly aligned colors of each piece offer a funny contrast with the detritus-inspired structure within.

In “The New Retail Mycology VI,” a miniature cutting board rests amid a curly, gnarly interweaving of multicolored twisted material that’s tied together at the corners with pink rope. There’s also a pocketknife in this arrangement, as well as a pile of wood-colored shavings. In “The New Retail Mycology V,” the fur of a rodent hangs from stacked sticks that stand over a bed of light green, curled-up paper and a collection of Duracell batteries.

The work sharply juxtaposes its unrecognizable, organic-seeming forms and the clearly branded consumer objects like liquor or batteries that are woven into them with vibrantly colored materials. Other than highlighting such surprising, awkward layerings, however, it’s unclear what the point is. In these cryptic landscapes, nothing seems to matter but the message the viewer projects onto them.

Read the full review on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/184776/when-consumer-goods-blossom-into-otherworldly-fungi/