"Dr. Awkward’s Clinical Findings
on the Back Wards"
Reception: Saturday, February 27, 2016 | 7 - 11 pm
Exhibition: February 27 – March 27, 2016
Gregorio Escalante gallery presents “Dr. Awkward's Clinical Findings on the Back Wards,” a survey of work by Michael Criley. The exhibited artifacts are from Criley's personal mythology, inspired by the long closed state hospitals in Lima, Ohio, and Weston, West Virginia and featuring a palindromic doctor and his forsaken patients
on the back ward.
In this imagined realm, the defrocked Doc was the attending clinician on an underfunded back ward, utilizing the two resources he had in abundance: time and insanity.
By fostering and cataloguing the eccentricities of his phantom patients, Dr. Awkward assembled a body of evidence sufficient not only to support his incoherent dissertation but to furnish his illusory asylum's visitors lobby with patient-made games, pictures,
The centerpiece of the recreated lobby in Criley’s asylum is “Hospital Television,” a motorized doll house with rabbit ears. Inside his interpretation of the idiot box, a carousel slowly turns. With horizontal roll stabilized by a 30 lb. metaphor for a lobotomy, reruns follow reruns in lurid color, repetitive and purposeless, like the zoetrope of a catatonic god. A collection of patient art and slip-logic assemblages continue his kaleidoscopic vision. Oak boxes from Weston Instruments are now portable travel-size reliquaries. Hospital Bill, the Dirty Egg Nurse and other characters and props from “Hospital Television” soap operas collect dust on a shelf alongside arcade games like the “Lima Wheel of Misfortune” and “Straitjacket Foosball.”
Criley also presents a series of collages which expand the Dr. Awkward mythology by suggesting that holes, patches and portals provide glimpses of the synchronicity beneath the surface of our reality. The path to insight is diagrammed in Dr. Awkward’s wall chart, an obtuse index of hypo-lingual symbology designed to test his patients and their patience for parsing the correlations between an Arabic daddy, Dada, watch-part hieroglyphs, and the reading of tea leaves while speaking in tongues.
When asked about Dr. Awkward’s Clinical Findings, the Clayton Brothers remarked that Criley has “filled an institutional void where time is measured backwards and another by making Cutty Sark boxes. You might ask him and what he keeps in them.”