This We Do In Bed: Sex, Dream, Die


Project 10: obby obby – Joel McDonald

Review by Bobby Barbour

Entire contents copyright © 2015 Bobby Barbour. All rights reserved.

Louisville based artist Joel McDonald often explores his personal history with religion, sexuality, fear of death, and conservatism. One of his newest exhibitions, obby obby, has a minimal approach that successfully illustrates these themes. The first piece is three beds of quilts with an expansive wall painting as the backdrop. The piece ‘This We Do In Bed: Sex, Dream, Die’ is self explanatory with the beds representing the life cycle with major ‘story’ points: birth, dreams, sex (life, living), and death. The wall painting ‘Wall Drawing’ completes the installation with symbols of birth and early life.


‘This We Do In Bed: Sex, Dream, Die’

The next piece brings in McDonald’s personal beliefs about religion with ‘Look What We’re Doing?’, an illustrated portrait of a baphomet-esque figure. Along with the title of the exhibition, obby obby, which is a stab at the Hobby Lobby Corporation for denying women birth control based on religious bias, this drawing seems to comment on the worshipping habits of various religions and their icons.


‘Bunker# 2: Death Contemplation Chamber’ (detail)

The last and strongest piece in the show. ‘Bunker# 2: Death Contemplation Chamber’ is a small, private green house full of lush plant life such as orchids and ferns. The room is calm and quiet, appropriate for reflection. The piece encourages audience engagement in a positive way that doesn’t alienate the viewer.

The exhibition is easily accessible to people with or without an arts background. Much like what he does at Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft(KMAC), curator Joey Yates has brought us something that further expands on the definition of ‘craft’.

December 28th will be your last opportunity to view the show. Zephyr will host an artist talk that evening with Joel McDonald and Yates. The talk starts at 6pm, at 610 East Market Street. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity.

Project 10: obby obby – Joel McDonald

November 6 – December 28, 2015

Thursday-Saturday, 11am-6pm

Zephyr Gallery
610 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202


10429844_10153049792645827_6436919201320435704_nBobby Barbour is an interdisciplinary artist who manages Blind Date, an arts podcast where he interviews new creatives from the Louisville, KY area, its sister cities, and beyond. There you can find extra little tidbits regarding the arts, listen to episodes, and find links to guests’ works.

Interviews are a lot like dates…and in some cases, blind dates.