Big Car Gallery, through Oct. 22.
The didactic text for Heather Accurso's Cherubic Intervention describes the artwork with the description "contemporary cherubic angels sprouting botanical projections protect humans and nature from today's threats."This invites an interesting reckoning with that which our culture holds perhaps most dear of all — human babies. Normally thought of as constantly needing nurturing and care, Accurso's babies now rescue us adults from mostly self-imposed harm and the protected become the protectors.
This interesting shift in perspective calls into focus the fact that babies are unquestionably thought of as symbols of purity and innocence, and when this paradigm is bastardized or reversed — see dead baby jokes, Eraserhead and Rosemary's Baby — the results can be downright chilling.
Cherubic Intervention may evoke just such a sense in viewers. Despite their heroic actions, there is something decidedly creepy about the babies portrayed in this group of artwork, and I left the show feeling bewildered and strange. The fact that Accurso's drawings have the power to evoke such ponderings and emotions is a testament to their depth and quality.
Cherubic Intervention manages to explore and question a dearly held cultural ideal without feeling like it is in poor taste or exploitative.