Megan Wilson
Writings > Julio Morales
Julio Morales
Through January 6, 2001

A warm glow radiates from the red neon sign that reads "Fuzzyland" on the window of a.o.v.. The seductive marker offers a tempting invitation to the possibilities that lie within the cloaked space. Inside, the atmosphere is intimate, yet formally cool -- think of a peep show that teases its viewers to come closer, closer, closer STOP. Twelve 10" x 8 1/2" black-framed ballpoint drawings on white vellum, spaced inches apart line one wall of the gallery to compose part II of Julio Morales's "Fuzzyland" series (the first was exhibited at Terrain Gallery earlier this year). The shadowy atmosphere is reinforced by spotlight bulbs placed individually behind each drawing, giving a faint luminescence to the work. Rendered in simple blue lines, the stylized drawings at first glance look like illustrations from a 1950's children's book. However, Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories, this is not. Morales's figures - never whole but rather dismembered or incomplete, never individualized but always generic (though the simplified bodies appear to all be boys and men) - seem more like they're out of NAMBLA's how-to S&M guide. A disembodied face gagged at the mouth floats in isolation; figures participate in gestures that allude to scrubbing the floor, washing the dishes, and masturbating. Of course the vague quality of these psychological pantomimes only adds to their perversity. The drawings, though sparse, have been layered with altered digital scans, suggesting that the prevailing mood of anxiety that quietly infuses these works isn't exclusively dedicated to the pictorial scenarios but concerns the very practice of drawing in its search for self-definition. The choice to exhibit the work of Morales, an established San Francisco artist, is a bit of a deviation for this alternative gallery space that has been supporting emerging artists for the past 2 years. However the choice of venue for this body of work couldn't be more appropriate.

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