Chicago Art Review


MiniReview: Dan Attoe @ Western Exhibitions by Steve Ruiz
November 16, 2009, 5:56 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Reviews

(Note: I’m catching up on my backlog of shows I attended, photographed, and never wrote about. Enjoy the pictures and the brief summary.)

September’s main space at Western Exhibitions featured Paul Nudd, I had wanted to give Dan Attoe‘s show in the second space its own review. The show was quiet, stretching its three pieces for maximum effect and building an atmosphere of creepy, confident mystery. The central piece, Sea Kayakers (You Are Not Special) was actually a very similar to an image made by Robyn O’Neil (who was at the time showing across the hall at Tony Wight Gallery, reviewed here). However, while O’Neil’s Masses and masses rove a darkened pool; never is there laughter on this ship of fools contained almost the same content for a narrative purpose, Attoe’s use of the imagery seems more arbitrary and hallucinatory. That desert trip vibe carried through to the other two as well, which flashed clips of text and image like daily glimpses from a wounded nomad’s fever trek.

Dan Attoe, Sea Kayakers (You Are Not Special)

Dan Attoe, Sea Kayakers (You Are Not Special)

Dan Attoe, Sea Kayakers (You Are Not Special)

Dan Attoe, Sea Kayakers (You Are Not Special)

Dan Attoe, Monument Valley

Dan Attoe, Monument Valley

Dan Attoe, You Ruin our Time

Dan Attoe, You Ruin our Time

Dan Attoe‘s solo exhibition opened Friday, September 11th and closed Saturday, October 10th @ Western Exhibitions, 119 N Peoria St, Suite 2A.

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MiniReview: Site Unspecific @ O’Connor Art Gallery by Steve Ruiz
November 16, 2009, 1:38 am
Filed under: Chicago, MiniReview, Openings, Reviews

(Note: I’m catching up on my backlog of shows I attended, photographed, and never wrote about. Enjoy the pictures and the brief summary.)

At the end of September, Dominican University’s O’Connor Gallery opened Site Unspecific, a group show which included work by Heather Mekkelson, Mara Baker, Adam Farcus, Rafael E. Vera, Brian Yates and Heidi Norton. The pieces were linked by the thread of site specificity, though each referenced a specific site outside of the gallery. Not all of the artwork here sustained the interest and had the conceptual skin to carry the theme, and some merely suggested an unknown place without going any further, but there were notable works. Adam Farcus’s sculpture, a paper chain draped over the track lights and doing much for the exhibition’s overall framing, was constructed from photocopied maps of the stars that would have been visible above at the time and place of his birth. Heather Mekkelson’s Debris Field was a reconstructed disaster, with artifacts of tragedy such as melted aluminum and burnt file cabinets meticulously reconstructed by Mekkelson from photographs of real remains. The show ended up relying on and challenging my trust in the artists’ claims, an interaction highlighted best by Heidi Nortons photographs which may or may not be accurate to their titles, and I spent the drive home wondering about that intersection of representation and belief. Without any way to validate the fact, would it matter if Farcus’s stars were from yesterday?

Site Unspecific @ O'Connor Gallery

Site Unspecific @ O'Connor Gallery

Brian Yates, Untitled

Brian Yates, Untitled

Heidi Norton, Hariett Tubman's Birthplace

Heidi Norton, Hariett Tubman's Birthplace

Mara Baker, deterioration of: (boardwalk)

Mara Baker, deterioration of: (boardwalk)

Brian Yates

Brian Yates

Rafael E. Vera, Two Stairs

Rafael E. Vera, Two Stairs

Brian Yates, untitled (for HM Tomlinson)

Brian Yates, untitled (for HM Tomlinson)

Heather Mekkelson, Debris Field

Heather Mekkelson, Debris Field

Site Unspecific opened on September 29th, 2009 and runs until December 13th, 2009 @ Dominican University’s O’Connor Art Gallery, 7900 W Division St. in River Forest.

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MiniReview: Berry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere by Steve Ruiz
November 14, 2009, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Chicago

(Note: I’m catching up on my backlog of shows I attended, photographed, and never wrote about. Enjoy the pictures and the brief summary.)

Berry Sanders is a painter from Eindhoven, Netherlands (home of the Van Abbe Museum, recently mentioned here), and his show Tales From the Bubble was a series of large, black and white narrative oil paintings down at Bridgeport’s Co-Prosperity Sphere. That each had a self contained story was a rare thing in contemporary painting, moving the focus and the strength of the work into the illusion, into its content rather than its form. Like much of narrative, representative work, the paintings demanded more attention to unpack and experience than I was really willing to give, limited themselves to mediocrity even while doing their job better than most. Flooded alleys, space-suit chimps, and jungle militias glazed by superficially – I was more interested in the scale, eerie blacks and greys, and especially the ivy ease with which Berry had painted the wall piece.

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Barry Sanders @ Co-Prosperity Sphere

Berry Sanders’ Tales from the Bubble ran September 25th to October 11th, 2009 @ Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan.

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MiniReview: Group Painting Show @ Ebersmoore by Steve Ruiz
November 14, 2009, 8:12 pm
Filed under: Chicago, MiniReview, Openings, Reviews

(Note: I’m catching up on my backlog of shows I attended, photographed, and never wrote about. Enjoy the pictures and the brief summary.)

The first show at the new Ebersmoore space was also the last show at the Ebersb9 space. Given the straightforward title of Group Painting Show, and including the work of Amy MayfieldHoward FondaTyson ReederSebastian Vallejo, and Paul Wackers. True to its name, it reflected more of a cool contemporary collection than any other curatorial theme. There were, however, some very interesting examples of bleeding edge interplay, including  the shitty-nouveau, grungy, sculptural use of paint as used here by Reeder, the taped off, layered look used here by Wackers, and a return to traditional content such as still lifes, interiors, and even portraiture.

Group Painting Show @ Ebersb9

Howard Fonda, Untitled; Paul Wackers, Hybrid

Paul Wackers, A Passing Glance

Paul Wackers, A Passing Glance

Group Painting Show @ Ebersb9

Group Painting Show @ Ebersb9

Group Painting Show ran from September 25th to October 23rd @ ebersb9, which became ebersmoore, 213 N. Morgan, #3C.

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MiniReview: Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf by Steve Ruiz
November 14, 2009, 8:09 pm
Filed under: Chicago

(Note: I’m catching up on my backlog of shows I attended, photographed, and never wrote about. Enjoy the pictures and the brief summary.)

39 Verbs was a one night event put on by Industry of the Ordinary at Packer Schopf. 39 artists were invited to create works based on a list of verbs taken from the IotO website’s history. Though a few artists chose to put in pieces were from their extant work, most took to the project like assigned students, changing gears, adapting their processes to this random challenge, or working well outside their work’s continuity to make a one-off piece. The performative pieces were the standouts, including Jason Lazarus‘s Ask, in which he invited an ordained priest to come to the gallery and answer confessions via text message; Anna Kunz‘s Infect, which had her sticking felt parasites to the backs of attendees, and Tony Tasset/Judy Ledgerwood‘s breakout performance Walk, which amped delivery as attention fizzled. 39 Verbs was one of 2009’s most memorable art events, and could have been a successful month-long run, but was all the sweeter for being a temporary show.

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Chris Kerr, Collaborate

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Paul Nudd

Paul Nudd, Take

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Antonia Contro, Bottle

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Jason Lazarus, Ask

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Industry of the Ordinary @ Packer Schopf

Tony Tasett, WALK

Tony Tasett, Walk

39 Verbs was organized by Industry of the Ordinary, and was held on October 11th, 2009 @ Packer Schopf, 942 W. Lake St.

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Weekend Preview: Crash and Bury by Steve Ruiz
November 14, 2009, 12:35 am
Filed under: Chicago Art Preview

Late late late:

Future Facing @ Old Gold

Return of Old Gold at new location with Aline Cautis, Josh Mannis, and Andy Roche. Friday, November 13th from 7-10 @ Old Gold, 3102 W Palmer Blvd.

Aline Cautis

Existence Value @ Happy Collaborationist Exhibition Space

Paul Cowan and Scott Cowan (AKA the Cowan brothers). Saturday, November 14th, 7-11 PM @ Happy Collaborationist Exhibition Space, 1254 N. Noble.

Los Hermanos Cowan

Los Hermanos Cowan

Deedee Davis and Casey Roberts @ Home Gallery

More human than a human, more nature than a nature. Closing reception Sunday, November 15th 12-3 PM @ Home Gallery, 1407 E. 54th Pl.

Deedee Davis, Pluto and the Plague Doctor

Deedee Davis, Pluto and the Plague Doctor

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Seven Artists of the Week – post studio, no homo by Steve Ruiz
November 11, 2009, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Chicago

This week’s picks from Ryan. Click images for links.

Chris Ballantyne, Untitled Intersection (Woods)

Chris Ballantyne, Untitled Intersection (Woods)

Jeff Ladouceur, Untitled

Jeff Ladouceur, Untitled

Laffoley Orgone, Motor

Laffoley Orgone, Motor

Karen Sargsyan, Detail from Installation "History of a Sect"

Karen Sargsyan, Detail from Installation "History of a Sect"

Eric Sall, Thick Freakness

Eric Sall, Thick Freakness

Ryan Shaffer,  Culling

Ryan Shaffer, Culling

Matt Greene, That We Do Not Appear to Fly is of Little Consequence

Matt Greene, That We Do Not Appear to Fly is of Little Consequence

Chicago art blogosphere!

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