Chicago Art Review


Size Matters! @ Packer Schopf by Steve Ruiz
July 13, 2009, 8:03 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Openings, Reviews

The problem with titling a show Size Matters! is that it places a dozen professional artists under the flipsy membrane of a cock joke. It also forces every reviewer to pun off of the title. So, while many of the pieces in this show did live up to the name in terms of scale, the double entendre must bite both ways:  if this latest show from Packer Schopf had a dick, it would have to be a pretty average sized dick.

Victoria Fuller, Safety Star

Victoria Fuller, Safety Star

I can appreciate the strategy as a way to make a bigger group show come together, but bringing out large-scale works just wasn’t enough here. Many pieces made no sense being next to eachother, and worse for a show hinging on large works, it was difficult to even appreciate any given piece’s scale because of the eleven other large pieces in the room. I would have liked to have seen some of the smaller works from other Packer Schopf artists brought upstairs to support the larger works, allowing for scale reference and visual play between pieces.

But while I didn’t enjoy the full presentation, many of the individual pieces were very solid. Doug Smithenry‘s Coming Out Online series was excellent to finally see in person and described an enormous, prodigious effort by the artist. Victoria Fuller and Michael T. Rea‘s sculptures ended up being more interactive than I expected, with the Safety Star acting as a megaphone echo chamber and Rea’s Sleeping Beauty being groped like an IKB to prove its sheen really was raw graphite.

Michael T. Rea, Sleeping Beauty

Michael T. Rea, Sleeping Beauty

The misses came in the form of high craft, low impact art objects such as Jud Bergeron‘s jig sculpture, or Catherine Jacobi‘s Mary. A few skated the purely decorative line, with Mark Crisanti‘s flying bird men (click here to see a writer struggle to puff Crisanti’s work) and Renee McGinnis‘ Merchandise Mart painting both being very pretty and pretty forgettable.

Size Matters! at Packer Schopf

Mark Crisanti at Packer Schopf

Despite its lapses, Size Matters! does earn a spot on any respectable West Loop gallery tour, though partially as an entry-way into the catacomb halls below, where the smaller treasures of Seeley and Dettmer and Wortendyke live. And the work upstairs isn’t really disappointing; If you can focus on one large work at a time upstairs, Size Matters! will reward you with some highly polished, pretty humorous work.

And unfortunately for us all, since someone is going to say it anyway I may as well be the first: its not the size of the work, its how you use it! Haha! At least the show was hung well, or was it well hung? Heyyooh! Pippen to Jordan!

I give it a:

6.9

Size Matters! runs July 10th, 2009 to August 15th, 2009 at Packer Schopf, 942 W. Lake.

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