Chicago Art Review

NAH POP NO STYLE @ Roots and Culture by Steve Ruiz
July 23, 2009, 3:40 am
Filed under: Chicago, Openings, Reviews

I first dropped by Roots and Culture’s latest show on opening night, squeezed past the crowd outside and poked my head over shoulders of an unusually tall crowd to see the art, decided the tide had turned to afterparty early, and ran out. While too much crowd to see art with both eyes, not bad for a space looking to engage the community.

Luckily what I did manage to see convinced me to make a return stop.

Clay Schiff, Nine and a Half Objects

Clay Schiff, Nine and a Half Objects

NAH POP NO STYLE features art – mostly paintings – from Providence and Baltimore. Despite the geographic differences, the work here tends to homogenize; there isn’t enough dramaticly different between the art out of Providence/RISD vs. Baltimore/MICA to see the work separate into camps. That doesn’t really matter, except to say that the show doesn’t have as much internal contrast as a two-city show might suggest.

Geography aside, the work in the gallery was some interesting stuff.

Anabeth Marks, Rumspringa

Annabeth Marks, Rumspringa

I’ll run through what I liked quickly: Annabeth Marks‘ paintings were grungy, clever abstractions that made pukey pallete-goo oil paint look less gross than, say, Kent Dorn‘s Figutives,  but more fuck-around-ish too. Clay Schiff’s work was more reserved, but made up for straightforward material use with excellent composition and color choices. Blade Wynne not only has one of the most bad assed names in the world, but his gouache paintings were very skilled, advanced pieces too. Wynne was definitely a standout in this show and someone I’d keep an eye on in the future.

Blade Wynne, Garden

Blade Wynne, Garden

Lucy Campana’s work ended up using paint in a beautiful way, but for mediocre ends. I enjoyed her After Laughter Comes Tears up to the point where I recognized the profiles traced into the paint, at which time I tried hard to un-see them. The way she uses paint, I can imagine her work losing the pictorial or figurative elements and being better for it. Unfortunatey I have neither a photo or a link for Ms. Campana, so you’ll have to take my word on this.

(Update: You can see her work here.)

Quinn Taylor, (Untitled)

Quinn Taylor, (Untitled)

I liked Quinn Taylor’s two pieces both as works themselves and as foils to the work around them. The curatorial team (Michael Thibault and Hugh Zeigler) made good use of Taylor, and in turn Taylor’s pieces looked great in the show.

Chloe Wessner, The Last Walk

Chloe Wessner, The Last Walk

However much talent was on display at NAH POP NO STYLE, there was a new artist smell to some of the pieces, with work that seemed to spring from the art school structure rather than from a developed body of work. Chloe Wessner’s The Last Walk and Kandis Williams’ I Saw What You Did, Bitch (Cunty Whisper) both felt like one-off, pointed constructions. These may be other cases of wait and see.

Thomas Harrington, Untitled

Thomas Harrington, Untitled

While there were few pieces I swallow whole, and despite minor problems with some pieces, NAH POP NO STYLE is still one of the most interesting shows up in Chicago right now. Thibault and Zeigler have put together a very balanced show, rich in content and interplay, honestly beautiful in the space, and with pieces that generated more opinions and discussion than most shows I’ve attended and/or discussed. I may go a third time.

I give it a:


NAH POP NO STYLE runs July 11th through August 8th @ Roots and Culture, 1034 N. Milkwaukee.

P.S. This was one of the more difficult articles to write, only because of the very sparse online content. I nearly wore out my googler trying to track down information for some of the artists involved in this show. While I can (only reluctantly) handle the gallery not putting up a piece list/images for the show, the artists themselves should really have some online presence for interested parties. If you’re an artist without a website, please, for my sake as well as your own, go set up a blog and put your name and work on it. Put a tiny bio. Include the word artist. For me. Please.

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7 Comments so far
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mega dittos on your P.S.

Comment by Scott Speh

annabeth marks is spelled with another N

Comment by Annabeth Marks

My website is currently undergoing major renovations check out my blogspot ( and later check out

Comment by Lucy Campana

Cool, I put the link in there. Thanks!

Comment by Steve Kush Ruiz

[…] at Scott Projects represents Baltimore’s second featured incursion into Chicago, but while NAH POP NO STYLE brought the painters, Brad Troemel’s brought the photographers. And punk archivists. Okay, […]

Pingback by No More Perfect Moments @ Scott Projects « Chicago Art Review

Thanks for the review… I myself was a little taken aback by the lack of interest in creating a website that some emerging east-coasters have, especially in Providence. In Hugh & I’s defense, we did include as much of a complete list of websites and blogspots as we could in the press release, so our apologies if you didn’t receive a copy of that. Also, there were multiple price/title lists in the gallery during open hours, but maybe they weren’t easily identifiable.

Thanks again,


Comment by Michael Thibault

Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts
and I will be waiting for your next post thank you once again.

Comment by Zahngold Wert

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