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Sculpture Gets Witchy In Jennifer Tee's New Exhibition

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Set your eyes upon one of Jennifer Tee's pastel-tinged sculptural forms and you won't know what exactly what it is you're looking at.

The lopsided coils piled high like clay spaghetti are only further obfuscated by the captioned words sculpted beneath them, such as the enigmatic "practical magic."

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The ambiguous totems resemble an ice cream cone, a fox-glove flower and a glob of intestines all at once. They may or may not house sands, spices, or ashes, for all we know. Floating playfully between charming you, tempting you and disgusting you, the humble objects undoubtedly possess an unexpected and supernatural something.

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Depending on your willingness to believe in the strange little totems, you could have a pretty witchy time at Tee's newest exhibition, aptly titled "Practical Magic." The works on view, like many of her others, are reminiscent of odd household trinkets you might have ogled as a child; unaware of its designated purpose it gained instead an inexplicable mystique. Spiderweb rugs and gum drop demi-balls -- part occult and part feng shui -- are the perfect cocktail of homey and unheimlich.

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"Practical Magic" is on view at Dublin's Project Arts Centre, where the show expands on the untapped spiritual potential of Tee's sculptures, riffing off the expectation of symbolism in artworks and religious icons alike. Tee asks us what happens when the symbols begin to get slippery.

"In other places of spiritual encounter we more easily recognise the structures and symbols that encroach on our sense of submission or tolerance –- we can opt in or out, avoid lines of symbolism too potent or revel in something in which we feel excited, comforted, or infused. But within the realm of contemporary art and the work of Jennifer Tee, that recognizable symbolism becomes a little sticky."

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Neither quite a sacred urn nor a piece of pottery, Tee's sculptural works challenge our assumptions that symbols can be deciphered. Instead her iconography floats as questions unanswered, glittering with secrets. Are you entranced by Miss Tee's sculpted cyphers? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Jennifer Tee's "Practical Magic" will show at Project Arts Centre in Dublin from August 29 until October 26.

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