Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cool and Dark-- Eleanor Ray, Greta Waller, and Gwendolyn Zabicki

images: (L) Next Door Neighbor by Gwendolyn Zabicki, (C) Blue Hallway by Eleanor Ray, and (R) First Block by Greta Waller

Tyler Jagel wrote an elegant take on my exhibition, Cool and Dark, on display at Comfort Station, 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, July 1st-27th. 

Cool & Dark
Eleanor Ray, Greta Waller, Gwendolyn Zabicki

Summer won’t last forever. It never does. Cool & Dark celebrates the midpoint of yet another Chicago summer hanging in the balance with the paintings of Eleanor Ray, Greta Waller, and Gwendolyn Zabicki. These paintings capture scenes that are neither here nor there, moments that—like summer—are always already passing.

Eleanor Ray’s kitten-sized paintings are filled with large, pleasing brush strokes. Lean in, however, and notice the unsettlingly unpeopled landscapes. Are these scenes of the beginning of something—or the end? An empty room seen through a doorway feels lived-in—like taking one last longing look at an apartment before moving out for good. Or consider the grim, dusky light that dominates a desolate pier at twilight that feels tinged with reminiscence. We get into comfortable grooves: walk by the same doorway a million times or enjoy countless afternoons by the water. And then something happens to remind us that time is passing.

While some might find the relentless onward passage of time troubling, Greta Waller takes great pleasure in it. Waller deals in ice—specifically huge melting chunks of it on thoughtfully placed dishware. The effect is dazzling. Light bends and warps. Straight lines slither and blur with intricate backgrounds. Colors explode. Puddles form and water glistens as the ice slowly dissolves into dimpled curves. One finally realizes that it’s the melting that makes the ice visible. As the blocks fade, Waller is able to capture the weird shimmering evanescent forms that enliven and embellish the objects around it. A boring flower design on a tray becomes something exciting and new. With each passing minute new forms emerge. It seems like magic.

However, this can be bittersweet. After all, the ice will not last forever. But perhaps Gwendolyn Zabicki’s present paintings offer us an antidote. Zabicki invites viewers to greedily inspect her gifts. Feel free to admire the careful folds and the gold leaf that gilds the wrapping paper; appreciate the careful attention to color, shadow, and reflection. These presents hang there like Platonic forms filled with we-know-not-what and destined for we-know-not-whom. Recognize the present for what it really is: a gesture of love, a symbol of friendship, evidence that we are not alone. Wonder what’s in them, but know that inside every present is the fear that soon the party will be over, the ice will be gone, and the doors will be closed forever.

Take a moment while you walk around Comfort Station and remind yourself that it’s summer.

Enjoy it while it’s here.

-Tyler Jagel

Macintosh HD:Users:gretawaller:Desktop:Greta Waller New Work:IMG_3759.jpg
             Greta Waller “Miami Ice”, 26”x32”, oil on linen, 2013.

Macintosh HD:Users:gretawaller:Desktop:Greta Waller New Work:IMG_0523.JPG
Greta Waller, “ Mongolian Ice”, 27”x36”, oil on linen, 2013.

Macintosh HD:Users:gretawaller:Desktop:Greta Waller New Work:IMG_4383.jpg
Greta Waller “Midnight Ice”, 30”x36”, oil on linen, 2013.

Macintosh HD:Users:gretawaller:Desktop:Greta Waller New Work:IMG_0509.jpg

Greta Waller, “Hello Kitty Ice”, 28”x36”, oil on linen, 2013.

Eleanor Ray, "Hallway Interior" 4"x6", 2014.

                                             Eleanor Ray, "Sculpture Night" 4"x6", 2014.

Eleanor Ray, "Waterfront Warehouses 2" 4"x6", 2014. 

Eleanor Ray, "Pier Evening" 4"x6", 2014. 

Gwendolyn Zabicki, "Gold Gift", 16" x 20", oil on canvas, 2014

  Gwendolyn Zabicki, "Green Gift", 16" x 22", oil on canvas, 2014

                                   Gwendolyn Zabicki, "Present", 14" x 16", oil on canvas, 2014

For more visit:
 Greta Waller

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lillstreet Artists Lecture Series-- Mindy Rose Schwartz June 24th 7pm

I have invited the sculptor and ceramicist Mindy Rose Schwartz to give a talk at Lillstreet on June 24th at 7pm. She teaches at SAIC and makes gorgeous stuff. I hope I see you there. 

Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival 2014

I'm curating a storefront for the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival this year. Currently, I've got 20 artists showing work in 2775 N. Milwaukee Ave. 

It's a huge space. Last year 25,000 people came to the fest.

Participating artists:

Stephanie Del Carpio
Helen Maurene Cooper
Austin Ross Knierim
Gabriel Mejia        
Natalie Virafuentes

Install pics here (thank you Noah Vaughn) :