Soft Served: A Soft Sculpture Group Show at OhNo!Doom

Stephanie Cristello

Opening next Saturday, OhNo!Doom presents Soft Served: A soft sculpture group show. Just in time for the changing weather comes a show that celebrates all things sewn, stuffed, knit, felted or fluffed. Lana “Plushinator” Crooks curates a rag tag group of fiber enthusiasts; from wall mounted to huggable pieces, there is a ton to look at from this Chicago based artist collective space. Merging the gap between Fine Arts and play, these plushies are sure to put a playful spin on this December’s gallery crawl schedule.

Plush Art by Diane Koss

The expression “painfully cute” takes on a whole new meaning for artists exhibiting in this Bucktown gallery-shop. Where fluffy meets eerie, and the sweet meets the sinister, a soft friend for us grown-ups emerges. Here are some exhibiting artists who combine these two worlds (pardon the pun) seamlessly.

Cleo Dee’s is famous for making their anthropomorphic squids. In their latest venture, a mixture between folk-craft and historical tableaus, these under water creatures take on new contextualization in the cleverly titled “squidtivity” scenes. Through the mashing of two very different, but similarly pastiche, techniques, Cleo Dee’s is able to create these estranged relics.

Cleo Dee's

You may have also seen these monsters by Cutesy but not Cutesy, a line of plush art by Philadelphia based artist Diane Koss, in this past September’s Renegade Craft Fair. Koss’ creations humorously border between the mythical and the childish; carrying a more commercial appeal, you can really picture yourself cuddling up to one of these hand-stitched creatures. There are sure to be more cyclopean organisms at Soft Served, each with a unique set of rampant horns and wildly applied faux-fur.

THem DoLLz approaches the plush world from a more gothic standpoint; the classic doll form (in terms of scale and material) is transformed, perhaps relating more to the voodoo doll in its construction. Borrowing from myths and ghost stories, there are plenty of adorably haunting characters in this line of dolls: banshees, zombies, snow queens and Frankensteins. Hailing from the rural suburbs of Illinois, Jen Musatto creates these Burtonesque dolls, and her quilted monstrosities are nothing short of lovable.

Amanda Louise Spayd’s creatures really push the border of the cutesy craft tradition, the translation of pastel floral patterns into dark and grotesque figures are completed with big watery eyes and seemingly real human teeth. Their features, pearlescent and overgrown, are materially attractive despite their divergence from any natural woodland creature. Deeply seeded in their own mythology, these are the kinds of creatures you would find in the forest, were evil faeries real. They are playfully dark, and perfectly relatable misfits.

Opening December 11th 6-10pm.