A building facade studded painfully with nails like thick hair jutting out of irritated pores; two truncated toy fishes locking lips through a fishnet; a contorted squirrel tchotchke with a tuft of hair, an inflamed, pimple-red top, and a coin slot in the back: The entire universe of horror and unease in Lucas Blalock’s new works, up at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, spins out from a single moment that took place in Florida circa 1989. Then ten years old, Blalock accidentally caught his thumb in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World, which crushed it beyond repair. In a novel experimental procedure, Blalock had his big toe surgically reattached to his hand as a de facto thumb.
The atmosphere of "Florida, 1989" is carnivalesque and distinctly grotesque, a superficial veneer of nostalgic, Floridian cheer caving into a dark and carnivorous id. Like the operation that gave Blalock his new thumb, the digital manipulations of cut and paste are used in many of the dye sublimation prints on view. His techniques—erasing, masking, and cloning—alternately rendered neatly and messily, contribute to a sense of the uncanny. Like the animatronic pirates that caused Blalock’s devastating injury, M_M_M_M_M (Daisychain) (2020) [pictured] blurs real and fiction with the appearance of floating, Charlie Brown-esque forms. The border between surreal real-world sculpture and digital engineering becomes indiscernible in the resulting photographic print.
Lucas Blalock, M_M_M_M_M (Daisychain), 2020. Dye sublimation print on aluminium, 19 x 24 inches.