Art Letter (12/09/05)
As I went around to galleries this week, to preview the shows that are opening today, I was surprised. I was surprised by the depth and quality that I saw. I knew that Thomas McCormick Gallery is having an exhibition of paintings by Robert Motherwell and I fully expected to walk in a see maybe a painting or two hanging and instead when I walked through the door to discover a whole room of them, all different sizes and an array of years and prices all in wonderful condition and priced really reasonably, right here in Chicago. And just because the Motherwell’s are impressive do not overlook the work of John Sabraw in the back gallery.
Upstairs, Bucket Rider has so much going on they can’t keep up with themselves. I know they’re installing a great show because people keep telling me about, but beyond the crates that must be full of art, only Scott Roberts’ was installing his work which is so brave and venturesome that it’s going to take a week(s) to complete. Scott’s work is smart, really complicated and flows from a simple idea to complexity and back again to simplicity. Maybe. He’ll be working on it for a while, adding a multidimensional portrait of Nietzsche to the totally irregular surfaces of cardboard. We’ll just have to stop back a few times. I need also to see the pieces by Cody Hudson and Eddie Martinez, but truthfully their whole roster intrigues me.
Across the street, Aron Packer is showing the wonderfully obsessive art of Brian Dettmer. I marvel at his ability with a pair of scissors and can’t believe what his fertile mind conjures up. He must make art in his sleep, cutting up books, overlaying images, dissecting maps. Clearly what makes some people crazy makes others sane.
Over at NAB, Susan Sensemann keeps surprising me with her new and energized rapid growth and is paired with Kathleen Vojta, a talented abstract painter who layers images and information constructing strong, seductive, small pieces. I like them. I can feel Vojta finding her voice, enjoying her process and I look forward to watching her grow and the art unfold. And then there’s Susan. Finally Susan is feeling her oats, confident in her sexuality and rejoicing in her femininity. This is not that plaintiff feminism that I have difficulty responding to; this is a celebration of self, buoyant confidence, erotic power as only a genuinely informed and aware woman can do. (Yeah, I know it sounds like I’ve lost any perspective here, but I’m just really impressed with the power, directness and joy of her work. You owe it to yourself to just see the one pastel rose rendered on black paper that easily measures 8 x 10 FEET.) On the way downstairs, on the 2nd floor, peek into Ben Dallas’s studio. He is making fantastic, subtle work these days - things he calls geometric puddles. I want one.
And I particularly liked the Beverly Fishman show at Sketsos Gabriele where Fishman makes labor intensive, heady “paintings” out of vinyl and vinyl lettering.
Though it is not an exhibition, there is another opening tonight where you get a rare glimpse of the wonders Chicago’s Department of Public Art can do with a really limited budget. There’s a reception at the former Goldblatt’s building at 1613 West Chicago where works by Don Baum, Stephanie Brooks, Rodney Carswell, Carlos Flores, Jin Lee, Don Lipski, Jim Lutes. Tom McDonald Michael Piazza, Art Shay, Tony Tasset and www.lanetwitchell.com/Lane Twitchell can be seen. And after last night’s snow Tony Tasset’s piece seems oh so relevant.
Your not going to let a little snow stop you now, are you?