November 16, 2015

2015: Critic's Picks @ Expo Art Week

Chicago's "Expo" art fair was held at Navy Pier, September 17-20, 2015. And I decided to avoid it. Instead, I visited as many local gallery exhibitions as possible. In this article I've drawn from that experience: compiling a short list of works which struck me as someway relevant to the city's recent art history. Making connections between artists herein, I've paid more attention to formal issues than to politics. As always, I apologize for errors and omissions; no slight is intended. Feel free to append a comment.

"Appropinquation"
Leslie Baum, Shannon Finley, Jamisen Ogg, Min Song and Dannielle Tegeder
September 12 – October 31, 2015
Carrie Secrist Gallery
835 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL
http://www.secristgallery.com/


Above: Jamisen Ogg in "Appropinquation," September 12 – October 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist Gallery, 835 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL; exhibition co-curator Britton Bertran, at right, indicating scale.

Visible both from the street and also the building's entrance, it's inevitable that Jamisen Ogg's sculpture "Rigid Infinity" is the first piece encountered in the group show "Appropinquation" at Carrie Secrist Gallery. And if the work is somewhat interesting as a play upon the momentarily ubiquitous motif of the triangle,[1] it's yet more interesting as an ordinarily hidden architectural object (roof truss) which has been brought into view in the environment of the gallery. Here the anticipated structural forces are reversed, i.e., hanging, the pairing is subject to tension, rather than compression. I don't know whether Ogg, or Secrist, or co-curator and Associate Director Britton Bertran intend any connection to the concurrent Chicago Architectural Biennial. Regardless, it's a timely presentation.

Thirty years ago, Terrence Karpowicz,[2] Fred Nagelbach, Evan Lewis, and others, were seen to have employed the same materials, techniques and architectural vocabulary in large, wooden sculptures exhibited in Chicago. More recently, Conrad Freiburg and Kelly Kaczynski have made great use of the same idiom.[3] All owe some debt to Constructivism.

Dannielle Tegeder in "Appropinquation," Sep 12 – Oct 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist
Above: Dannielle Tegeder in "Appropinquation," September 12 – October 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist Gallery, 835 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL.
Dannielle Tegeder in "Appropinquation," Sep 12 – Oct 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist
Above: Dannielle Tegeder in "Appropinquation," September 12 – October 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist Gallery, 835 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL.

Also within Secrist's main room, immediately opposite Ogg, Dannielle Tegeder repeatedly employs a wooden, triangular form--reminiscent of Ogg's work, but very much smaller. And that's interesting, inasmuch as material, shape, and scale were the historical concerns of sculpture. In all group shows such visual relationships should be evident, rather than vaguely implied by some companion text. Whether I've stumbled upon the curators' concern, the pairing is complimentary.

Dannielle Tegeder in "Appropinquation," Sep 12 – Oct 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist
Above: Dannielle Tegeder in "Appropinquation," September 12 – October 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist Gallery, 835 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL.

That said, in contrast to Ogg, Tegeder presents a collection of objects rather than a monolithic work. And, because of her use of shelving particularly, but also because of her use of sheet material and the wall as a support, I'm made to remember Carol Bove who, it seems to me, was locally imitated by Rashid Johnson, who was in turn imitated for a time by Dan Gunn.[4]

Tegeder's installation is suggestive of a sculptor's studio: of raw materials which have the potential to become some other work. So it's a bit of a shock to realize that she's worked with so many found objects. Are Tegeder's triangular constructions the only items in her installation which she's built?

Leslie Baum in "Appropinquation," September 12 – October 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist
Above: Leslie Baum in "Appropinquation," September 12 – October 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist Gallery, 835 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL.

Within Secrist's "Appropinquation," still, Tegeder's "collection of objects" links her to Leslie Baum. The artwork in either case presents itself as a cloud-like phenomenon, absent symmetrical distribution or a central point of focus. Having written that, while in the past Baum has worked at a scale comparable to Tegeder--for example, her (Baum's) tabletop and shelving presentations made from 2012-2014 at Peregrine Program, LVL3, and The Franklin--here, in "Appropinquation," scale is the first point of diversion between the two: Baum having shown no individual compositional element quite so small as Tegeder.[5] More, Baum is also distinguished by her preference for decorative surfaces, vivid hues, statuary, and organic or irregular line and shape.

Baum, here, really does present herself as a painter who's making sculpture, or as a sculptor who's making work from paintings: it's as though an Ellsworth Kelly has been taken from the wall, chopped apart, and set on the floor. As a painter would, Baum's chosen to work with sheets of material. Baum and Tegeder both use material in sheet form; Tegeder and Ogg's triangular constructions are built from essentially linear elements. Formally, Tegeder is the bridge between Baum and Ogg in this show.

Dannielle Tegeder in "Appropinquation," Sep 12 – Oct 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist
Above: Dannielle Tegeder in "Appropinquation," September 12 – October 31, 2015, at Carrie Secrist Gallery, 835 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL.

By virtue of her post-minimalist sensibility, as suggested by her inclusion of numerous, unadorned geometric solids, Tegeder too is a bridge to other concurrent exhibitions in the city, e.g., Morgan Sims at Bert Green Fine Art.[6] Even Doug Fogelson at Linda Warren might be approached in the same manner: rectangular framing devices, in series, are used to structure Fogelson's exhibition.

"Broken Cabinet"
Doug Fogelson
September 11 - November 7, 2015
Linda Warren Projects
327 N. Aberdeen St.
Chicago, IL
http://lindawarrenprojects.com/


Doug Fogelson in "Broken Cabinet," September 11 - November 7, 2015, at Linda Warren
Above: Doug Fogelson in "Broken Cabinet," September 11 - November 7, 2015, at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen St., Chicago, IL.

Acknowledging the geometric structure of the framing devices, and the pleasant range of hues contained therein, there is, for the second time in one of Fogelson's installations in this gallery, a less obvious, macabre theme undergirding the work: his artistic enterprise has been, at least in part, concerned with dead or dying things.

Here and now, a sort of museological display case houses biological artifacts, e.g., a bat, a shell, a spider, a snakeskin, etc., all of which were used by Fogelson to create the photograms hanging on opposing ends of the space. Such display cases, or vitrines, have been fashionable of late.

Three years ago, in December of 2012, Fogelson staged an elaborate floral presentation which was supported a circular, multi-tiered, clear acrylic pedestal.[7] Appearing freshly cut at the opening reception, the flowers within the piece were left in place to die, slowly, throughout the two-month period of the exhibition. The artistic use of encased, withering botanicals (not to mention a background in photography) connects Fogelson to former Chicagoan Heidi Norton.[8]

Doug Fogelson in "Broken Cabinet," September 11 - November 7, 2015, at Linda Warren
Above: Doug Fogelson in "Broken Cabinet," September 11 - November 7, 2015, at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen St., Chicago, IL; gallery patrons provide scale.
Doug Fogelson in "Broken Cabinet," September 11 - November 7, 2015, at Linda Warren
Above: Doug Fogelson in "Broken Cabinet," September 11 - November 7, 2015, at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen St., Chicago, IL.
Doug Fogelson in "Broken Cabinet," September 11 - November 7, 2015, at Linda Warren
Above: Doug Fogelson in "Broken Cabinet," September 11 - November 7, 2015, at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen St., Chicago, IL.
Above: Doug Fogelson in "Broken Cabinet," September 11 - November 7, 2015, at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen St., Chicago, IL.

But it's Fogelson's encased fauna--shed snakeskin especially--which link him to Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen at Boyfriends, some four miles to the west of Linda Warren Projects. Operated by New Capital's Ben Foch and The Hills' Leo Kaplan in the space formerly occupied by Peregrine Program, Boyfriends is a new gallery, whose inaugural exhibition was timed to coincide with the 2015 edition of Expo. And, attendance at the opening reception was significant.

"Seduced and Abandoned"

Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen
September 18 - October 18, 2015
Boyfriends
3114 W. Carroll St.
Chicago, IL
http://boyfriendschicago.com/


Above: Hope Esser and Boyfriends proprietor Ben Foch attending the opening of Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen's "Seduced and Abandoned," September 18 - October 18, 2015, at Boyfriends, 3114 W. Carroll St., Chicago, IL.
Above: Boyfriends proprietor Leo Kaplan with Sarah Shikima attending the opening of Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen's "Seduced and Abandoned," September 18 - October 18, 2015, at Boyfriends, 3114 W. Carroll St., Chicago, IL.
Above: Art F City's Paddy Johnson, visiting Chicago for the Expo art fair, attending the opening of Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen's "Seduced and Abandoned," September 18 - October 18, 2015, at Boyfriends, 3114 W. Carroll St., Chicago, IL.
Above: Brandon Alvendia attending the opening of Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen's "Seduced and Abandoned," September 18 - October 18, 2015, at Boyfriends, 3114 W. Carroll St., Chicago, IL.

Von Habsburg-Lothringen presents large-scale photographic prints in which masked figures confront--and disturb most--viewers. What's disturbing? I think it's the homogeneity of the disguise set against the various idiosyncrasies of the wearers: the smooth, artificial skin of the mask seems to be a particularly hideous imitation when compared to the flesh of the most aged model.

Broadly, the pieces might be interpreted as a critique of cosmetics, fashion, pharmaceuticals, plastic surgery, etc., to the extent that such industries, or their marketers, promise the unattainable, for which the mask stands in metaphor. In fact, our bodies are imperfect; and, whether quickly or slowly, they will fail. That's the inexorable truth.

Here, following the interpretation above, Von Habsburg-Lothringen offers us a reminder of our mortality; and it's possible to approach the show as a little group of "memento mori" works. Implied by the mask, the Faustian bargain, the deal with the devil, is the worldly gain of the illusion of youth at the cost of one's identity.

I agree with Paddy Johnson that Von Habsburg-Lothringen's work is reminiscent of the New York-based artist Narcissister.[9][10] And I'm reminded that, locally, Iowa native Amber Hawk Swanson occupied the Chicago Artists’ Coalition's BOLT Residency, 2011-2012, offering a solo exhibition which featured the surgical partition of what was once her own likeness cast in silicone.[11] Too, at the Chicago venue at Aspect/Ratio, San Fransisco-based artist Desirée Holman's ghoulish "Not Cliff" mask was included in a group show which ran through August of 2015.[12]

Above: The press image for Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen's "Seduced and Abandoned," September 18 - October 18, 2015, at Boyfriends, 3114 W. Carroll St., Chicago, IL.

Remembering Jamisen Ogg's "Rigid Infinity" from the beginning of the article, I found a second abstract sculpture depending from the ceiling during Expo's Art Week: In the Chicago Artists Coalition's new group show "The Annual," Noël Morical presented a hanging, paracord macramé piece. And that seems worth mention in a discussion of recent, local art history, inasmuch as Chicago-based Texas-native Brent Fogt too placed a hanging, crocheted jute piece (resembling macramé) at the Chicago Artists Coalition in 2013.[13]

"The Annual"
Alfredo Salazar-Caro, Kiam Marcelo Junio, Macon Reed, Michelle Anne Harris, Noël Morical, Susy Bielak, Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, Chelsea Culp, Danielle Dobies, Jean Alexander Frater, Jeroen Nelemans, Neha Vedpathak, Phaedra Call, Sherwin Ovid, Bryan Volta, Anna Martine Whitehead, David Alekhuogie, Danny Giles, Krista Franklin, Esau McGhee, Johana Moscoso, Sonja Thomsen, Meg Leary and Sarah Beth Woods
September 18 - 20, 2015
Chicago Artists Coalition
217 N Carpenter St.
Chicago, IL
http://www.chicagoartistscoalition.org/


Above: Noël Morical in "The Annual," September 18 - 20, 2015, at the Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 N. Carpenter St., Chicago, IL.
Above: Noël Morical in "The Annual," September 18 - 20, 2015, at the Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 N. Carpenter St., Chicago, IL.
Above: Noël Morical, work hanging at left, in "The Annual," September 18 - 20, 2015, at the Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 N. Carpenter St., Chicago, IL.

ABOVE:

Photographs (1-15 & 17-19) September 18-19, 2015;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos

Photograph (16)
Copyright Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen / Boyfriends, press image:
http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/09/chanel-von-habsburg-lothringen-seduced-and-abandoned/


NOTES:

[1] See below a group of related, abstract, geometric, two-dimensional artworks demonstrating a sort of tessellation which employs isosceles or equilateral triangles; all were produced in Chicago sometime between 2008 and 2014. Artworks are copyright their ascribed authors and are presented here in low-resolution for the sole purpose of supporting original scholarship in a non-commercial, publicly accessible work of art criticism and commentary, as "Fair Use" is defined. Contact the respective artists, or their agents, for commercial use, high-resolution images, and acquisition of original work.

Above: Todd Chilton, 2011
Above: Samantha Bittman, 2009
Above: Cole Pierce, 2014
Above: Samantha Bittman, 2010
Above: Steven Husby, 2008
Above: Todd Chilton, 2012
Above: Michael Milano, 2012

[2] See, for example, a wood sculpture by Terrence Karpowicz from 1981 entitled "Art Ark," which employs multiple triangular shapes, as found at the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, Governer's State University, IL:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nathanmanilowsculpturepark/3842624547

http://chicago-outdoor-sculptures.blogspot.com/2010/03/meeting-with-sculptor-par-excellence.html


[3] See below a detail of a wooden, architectural sculpture installed by Kelly Kaczinski at the now defunct Ben Russell Gallery (#2F, 1716 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL) in which bracing creates a series of triangular forms. Original artwork copyright Kelly Kaczynski; photograph copyright Paul Germanos.

Above: Kelly Kaczynski, 2009

[4] See below examples of sculpture from 2002-2011 which feature: (a) shelving; (b) sheet material presented in circular, square and rectangular shape; (c) the gallery wall employed as support; and (d) "curated" groups of found objects. Compare to Tegeder above. Artworks are copyright their ascribed authors and are presented here in low-resolution for the sole purpose of supporting original scholarship in a non-commercial, publicly accessible work of art criticism and commentary, as "Fair Use" is defined. Contact the respective artists, or their agents, for commercial use, high-resolution images, and acquisition of original work.

Above: Carol Bove, 2002
Above: Rashid Johnson, 2010
Above: Heidi Norton, 2011
Above: Dan Gunn, 2011

[5] See below Leslie Baum at the now defunct Peregrine Program (3311 W. Carroll Ave. Chicago, IL) in 2013: the scale of her work appropriate for the tabletop which was incorporated into her presentation. Original artwork copyright Leslie Baum; photograph copyright Paul Germanos.

Above: Leslie Baum, 2013

[6] See below the press image for Morgan Sims at Bert Green Fine Art, contemporaneous with Tegeder's own exhibition at Secrist. Artwork is copyright the ascribed author and is presented here in low-resolution for the sole purpose of supporting original scholarship in a non-commercial, publicly accessible work of art criticism and commentary, as "Fair Use" is defined. Contact the respective artist, or agent, for commercial use, high-resolution images, and acquisition of original work.

Above: Morgan Sims in "Metropolis," Sep 12 - Oct 31, 2015, at Bert Green Fine Art, 8 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 620, Chicago, IL.

[7] See below Doug Fogelson at Linda Warren Projects in 2012. Fogelson's installations, both in 2012 and also in 2015, invite a comparison between the photographic representation and the thing represented. It isn't quite Dorian Gray, but lends itself to consideration of similar themes. And Amber Hawk Swanson is good to remember here too. Original artwork copyright Doug Fogelson; photograph copyright Paul Germanos.

Above: Doug Fogelson, 2012

[8] See below Heidi Norton at the now defunct Ebersmoore (#3C, 213 N. Morgan St., Chicago, IL) in 2011. Taken as resembling slide preparation for microscopy, Norton draws near to Fogelson's "flattening" and protracted examination of the subject via film. Original artwork copyright Heidi Norton; photograph copyright Paul Germanos.
.
Above: Heidi Norton, 2011


[9] Paddy Johnson, September 22, 2015: "Narsisster and Rona Yefman also use masks in their work..."

http://artfcity.com/2015/09/22/four-photographs-of-women-in-masks-chanel-von-habsburg-lothringen-at-boyfriends/


[10] See especially Narcissister's 2013 show at Envoy Enterprises in New York City, wherein a mask was paired with fashion/textile photography:

http://www.narcissister.com/theater/#/narcissister-is-you2/

http://hyperallergic.com/64359/narcissisters-art-hates-you-but-loves-narcissister/


[11] Not per se an artist known for the use of a mask, Amber Hawk Swanson did use synthetic material to create a human-scale likeness of herself. Did her likeness retain her identity? It seems helpful to remember the "Amber Doll" body of work when thinking through the questions posed by Narcissister and Von Habsburg-Lothringen

http://amberhawkswanson.com/home.html

http://blog.amberhawkswanson.com/tilikum-sculpture-details


[12] See below the press image for "Uncommon Commonalities," which was a group exhibition at Aspect/Ratio, curated by Sandy Guttman and Jeroen Nelemans, including work from Einat Amir, Guy Ben-Ner, Rashayla Marie Brown, Glen Fogel and Desirée Holman. Holman's piece, "Not Cliff," dates from 2007: contemporaneous with Amber Hawk Swanson's "Amber Doll"project, which was begun in 2006. Artwork is copyright the ascribed author and is presented here in low-resolution for the sole purpose of supporting original scholarship in a non-commercial, publicly accessible work of art criticism and commentary, as "Fair Use" is defined. Contact the respective artist, or agent, for commercial use, high-resolution images, and acquisition of original work.

Above: Desirée Holman, 2007
http://www.aspectratioprojects.com/past-exhibitions

http://www.thevisualist.org/2015/07/uncommon-commonalities/


[13] See below Brent Fogt in "The Terrestrial, The Celestial, and the Imagined Inbetween," Oct 4 – 24, 2013, at the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, 217 N. Carpenter St., Chicago, IL. Original artwork copyright Brent Fogt; photograph copyright Paul Germanos.

Above: Brent Fogt, 2013
END

1 comment:

  1. FREE PUBLIC RECEPTION (Friday Jan 8, 2016 from 5-10PM)"Endangered Species: surviving the one percent." A one person show of paintings and prints by Mark Nelson at Prospectus Gallery - 1210 W. 18th St., Chicago, IL 60608 (across the street from Thalia Hall. This exhibit will run through March 13th by appointment. "Mr. Nelson, an artist and educator has been a resident of Chicago since 1984 where he arrived from the Panama Canal Zone, Republic of Panama to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work was shaped by
    his roots as an *extranjero *residing from adolescence into adulthood in a Latin American country where the “land divided and the world united.”

    Nelson is a recipient of numerous grants and endowments, including twice awarded the Illinois arts Council Fellowship. His work can be found in private collections as well as a mural painting purchased for the U.S. Embassy-Consulate in the Republic of Panama. Nelson’s Art Studio and home is located in Chicago’s historic Pilsen community.

    This exhibition will take place in the Pilsen neighborhood, the heart of today’s Mexican Renaissance. Prospectus Art Gallery is located at 1210 West 18th Street in Chicago. Your presence will strengthen the local development"
    of the arts.

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