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Gross Point

Americans will do anything to avoid getting older or fatter. Stomach stapling is on the rise, Botox is in like high-waisted jeans, and older celebs such as Joan Rivers and Cher have more fillers than an Oscar Meyer wiener.

Local artist Benjamin Phillips makes physical imperfections hard to ignore in “Reflection Pool,” a solo exhibit of life-size sculptures on display through March 12 at eye lounge, 419 East Roosevelt Street. Phillips' figures resemble Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man whose bloated, distorted features made him a sideshow freak and a legend.

"My inspiration for the show comes from a child's perspective trying to understand the differences between bodies of [the] elderly and children," the artist explains, "and revisiting these emotions as I approach 40, seeing and feeling a sense of mortality."

Phillips is crossing his fingers that you’ll see aspects of your friends and family in the tragic figures, though if you do, you might want to keep that info quiet or risk needing some reconstructive surgery of your own.

Tuesdays-Sundays; Thu., March 3, 12-7 p.m. Starts: Feb. 19. Continues through March 12, 2011

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