Chicago Art Review


Pop Sizzle Hum, Single Channels @ Tony Wight Gallery by Steve Ruiz
June 16, 2009, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Openings, Reviews

There are two shows going on right now at Tony Wight. Pop Sizzle Hum, a fairly small show of eerily similarly sized paintings in the main space, and Single Channels, a three-part video installation with work from Timothy Hutchings, Allison Schulnik, and Jacco Oliver, tucked away in the rear project space.

Steven Husby, Untitled, 2009

Steven Husby, Untitled, 2009

Pop Sizzle Hum was came off as very understated, with mild colors, quiet patterns, and gentle geometry in every work. The most confrontational painting, Judy Ledgerwood’s Honeypot, was still a beautiful painting before it could be anything else and Steven Husby’s Untitled (and awesome) diptych reminded me in its hard-lined mellowness of listening to a midtempo crowpop album from three rooms away. Pamela Fraser’s untitled (tearjerker) makes me wish the exit via sky really was just a right turn away.

Pamela Fraser, untitled (tearjerker)

Pamela Fraser, Untitled (tearjerker)

With its primary insistance on greys and cools and geometric abstraction and pastels, Pop Sizzle Hum turns the Wight gallery into a kind of extremely well curated chillout tent, where you can rest your eyes, have a juicebox, and come down from your afternoon trip through the West Loop. Perfect last stop for your next crawl.

Timothy Hutchings, Battle of the Mass (still) 2008

Timothy Hutchings, Battle of the Mass (still) 2008

In the back room, Single Channels presents a rare treat: video art that is extremely well made, clever, and and beautiful. At least, Timothy Hutchings’ Battle of the Mass was a dazzling, highly enjoyable video and Allison Schulnik’s Hobo Clown showed claymation at its most painterly and Grizzly Bear soundtrackly. However you feel about Hobos or Clowns, Schulnik’s video is one of the finest things to see in Chicago right now. If you’re not in Chicago or are behind a corn wall, that link above points at the full length, high definition version. Great!

Allison Schulnik, Hobo Clown (still), 2008

Allison Schulnik, Hobo Clown (still), 2008

While it would have been a huge benefit to see them projected in HD, these two videos nonetheless departed so much from my common understanding of (and admitted prejudice against) video art in their highly appropriate and developed craft, their evasion of common video art tropes of shittiness and stupidity, and in their both being uniquely enjoyable experiences that I was nearly convinced that I had been wrong all along, or that a new leaf had been turned, and the breakthrough had occured without my notice.

Then Jacco Oliver’s Wood came on and grounded me.

While technically two shows, I’ll have lump both together for the sake of numbers. I give it a:

8.0

Pop Sizzle Hum runs June 12th, 2009 to August 1st, 2009, and Single Channels runs June 12th, 2009 to July 10th, 2009, both at Tony Wight Gallery.
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