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Art Letter (9/7/07)

Having taken the summer off from writing largely because I haven’t seen much worth writing about I think it is time to raise the standards. My revised intent is to write about art that I believe is worth seeing.

With the start of the fall art season opening tonight I previewed about 20 shows that I had high expectations for.  When I go out looking for art I ideally want three things: 1, to see art of substance. 2, a glimpse into the artist’s soul. 3, art that knocks my socks off. Here are the exhibits that met my criteria

Jacob Hashimoto at Rhona Hoffman. This show flat out sings.  A graduate of the School of the Art Institute who no longer lives here, Hashimoto and his kite referential art are calm, deep, sensitive, expansive, meditative, harmonious and exciting. His art has grown leaps and bounds in the past 5 years. See this knockout show.  Watch him grow.

Todd Pavlisko at Monique Meloche. I’ve known Todd for maybe ten years, since he was at graduate school at Carnegie Mellon. He was always a very big thinker. Now he’s got the means and the moxie to pull it off.  Stimulated by Stephen Hawking’s zero gravity flight, this exhibit explores our human condition of Hope and Hopelessness; the duality we address everyday but rarely really acknowledge. Ballsy, different, brave, challenging, fresh, focused and freethinking Pavlisko is an important artist on the threshold of real recognition. 

Chris Millar at ThreeWalls.  This is work to be awed and amazed by.  Maybe reminiscent of Tony Fitzpatrick, or Chris Ware but rendered in paint, this Canadian artist gets more content into a small work of art than I could absorb in a year. Fresh, crisp, dynamic and lewd; this show is a visual treat. And down the hall, check out Chicagoan Cayetano Ferrer at the brand new ThreeWallsSolo.

Wesley Kimler at Architrouve.  Kimler has been making art for years and yearly, if not monthly, his art, its power, its ability to communicate and affect us keeps getting better. Lots better. In this two-person exhibit (with photographer Sandro’s fascinating photographs of large black women pressed onto sheets of plexiglas) Kimler ratchets his drawings up a notch by adding heads and faces to his large torn and reassembled sheets of paper saturated with dense black, soulful marks. I read them as eulogistic antiwar statements, meditating on larger universal life and death issues, as they brush Leon Golub aside with their vigor, guts and staying power.

Heather Marshall at Linda Warren. In her first one-person exhibit Marshall delivers lucid, crisp, transcendent paintings whose scale belies their size. Visualize a Jeff Wall backlit photo.  Shrink it to a foot in size and make it an oil painting. The exhibit, appropriately dedicated to her teacher and mentor Donald McFadyen, who died too young at 45, shows that his spirit lives on.

thank you,
Paul Klein