© Ashley Crawford 2007 (excerpt from catalog essay for ‘U-Turn’, Glendale College Art gallery, Los Angeles, 2007)
Ian Haig fails dismally when it comes to subtlety. His works explode in his viewers’ faces, requiring a thorough scrubbing to even remember the notion of hygiene. The bowel, genitalia, the permeability of skin, sex toys, bacteria all scuttle, crawl and ooze through his work. Like William S. Burroughs’ Dr Benway, Haig is a maverick surgeon of the bizarre creating an amphetamine fueled of grotesquerie. Like filmmaker David Cronenberg, Haig finds ways to invert the expected – even the title of his new series disturbs and disrupts expectations – Study for organs on the outside of the human body – we simply know it’s all going to hell.
Rendered in his crude drawing style, the drawings feature abstracted, mutant human forms. These works play with the notion of how the content of the body is considered as abject and repulsive when it is on the outside, rather than on the inside. For Haig this has particular resonance in Los Angeles, which is renowned for its devotion to the worship of the exterior human body.
In Haig’s oeuvre the body is pathologised beyond plenitude. In addition to the drawings there is the video work, How to Make a Monster, depicting the artist undergoing a Terminator-like process of transformation by tearing the skin from his face.