Chicago

April 21, 2018, 9:23am

Animal Hearts and Alprazolam Eyes: Nikki Maloof at Shane Campbell Gallery

They seem to be … scanning …  searching … through the white walls and white light, past Cermak … beyond Brooklyn … these massive, searching, scanning, yearning, alprazolam eyes, wide and wet with an anxious energy belayed by the piano-wire purse of their mouths, and it's a funny thing, seeing this menagerie—a stallion deep and dark and strong and arresting as the abyss; a wind blown canine the color of youth soccer and science fair trophies, its ears moving like a model's hair; cats with the casual repose of Instagram influences, languid echoes of Versailles; a bat neigh-indistinguishable from its night, wings face fur rendered in dried russet, a tropological coagulate crowned, like all its mates, up to and including the dead fucking fish, with those eyes—these eyes, with complete disregard for science and anatomical fidelity, tasked not with anything so brute and beautiful as physiology but instead being bent towards the philosophical, giving every animal here a look that's not of them, and not of us—the eyes aren't human; more super-human, really, uncanny, like anime eyes whose very size and depth seems capable of expressing exigency beyond anything but reality—but is of a universal human feeling, that painful, wistful vibe, hope tinged with fear as we scan the horizon, check the sidewalk, hold our breath for a text, the scars in our eyes reflected back at us—with vibrancy and humor and the alienation requisite for recognition—in Nikki Maloof's creatures, the Arecibo Observatories set within their skulls scanning, searching, complete heterochromia combing the distance, the Klonopin horizon, for an intelligence they don't fully understand, every pet part of SETI … – B. David Zarley , Chicago Contributor 


Nikki Maloof | Her Name Is Ut Pictura Poesis, 2018. Oil on canvas. 72 x 61 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Evan Jenkins.

Listed under: Review

February 25, 2018, 8:45am

About the Shape of It: Magalie Guérin at Corbett vs Dempsey

God, let's just start with a list, right?, and if it seems a bit daunting, just imagine poor fucking Linnaeus, setting forth to categorize sundry and all living things, whereas this is but a brief run-down and accounting for of some of the shapes-a sampling of the vast geographic ecosystem-of Magalie Guérin's (NAP #119) worlds, shapes anatomical/biological-flesh-colored trash bags, barred teeth, raw nails, conch snail shells-shapes mechanical-vintage car grills and taillights and doors and bench seats, mid-century modern chairs, shafts of lamp light from a noir gumshoe's desk, perfume bottles, awl handles, backsplash tiles, famished walls with studs showing, the glowing jukebox flanks of a sci-fi set, the curled remnants of a high school art class pastel set's cover paper, the ribs of rent cardboard-all nestled up amongst each other in the cool colors of pallid death or the never-living, enamel and sclera and cream and subcutaneous fat, contractor wall color and brutalist concrete and refrigerator light … and the paintings are none of those things, not really; well, they are all of those things, but only to me, on a Sunday morning in February, aided/impeded by time, distance, memory, an exercise in form until the very end … - B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Magalie Guérin | Untitled, 2017. Oil on canvas on panel. 20 x 16 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago.

Listed under: Review

November 18, 2017, 9:11am

John McAllister: Shimmering Surface, Phosphorescent Undertow

Beauty is a troublesome thing; but pleasure is even worse.  Beauty offers ecstasy in redemptive and occasionally bittersweet truths. Pleasure, on the other hand, is grounded in desire, and desire invites all manner of perilous things.  Like a riptide snaking its way towards shore, pleasure cloaks itself as beauty, luring the unsuspecting in and then drawing them out to sea. - Alan Pocaro, Chicago Contributor


John McAllister | botanic haunting soft-static, Installation View. Photo Courtesy of Shane Campbell Gallery

Listed under: Review

March 13, 2017, 12:34pm

Cinema Fatalité: Ben Murray at Monique Meloche

Up close, buried in it, approached with a loupe, it feels like … Christ …. like static on the wire, like the first crepuscular creepings of dextromethorphan—mucilaginous medicine the color old blood sloshing down sulci and optic nerves and then back up again—like a cataract, hot shimmering light and textual fuzz, an uncanny fading in, selachian skin rising up from a great obfuscating darkness—the darkness of the upstairs hallway when someone other than your parents had to put you to bed; the darkness of water the first time you are bifurcated by it; the darkness of every corner after a horror movie; the darkness of depths, of fainting, of dying—which is, despite its nature, because of it? you recognize the darkness, it's the door, but you don't know it, but it's shimmering, glistening, with promise and menace both—don't shark eyes glisten, and cobra hoods, and hypodermic needles, and freshly mopped floors, and sugars and fruits and feathers and halos?—and the simple fact of the matter is, presented with nothing but this great obfuscating black door, cruel Janus!, which seems to shine like the cheek bones of a post-performance circus artist and the soft spears of light the color of heliotropes, the gentle envoys of the blinding OR brightness behind the great obfuscating black door, you have all manner of reference points—a lifetime of them, memories and experiences and impressions and moments—but not a single solitary fucking cardinal direction; is the door holding something back? is it holding you back? should you go through it? should you hope and pray and scream and kick so that you never cross its threshold?

Do you die? – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Ben Murray | CLOSE – DOOR, 2017. Acrylic and ink on canvas, 84 x 78 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

Listed under: Review

December 28, 2016, 10:20am

Rebecca Morris: On Blood and Abstraction

Here we have presented, in a perfect circle, as if in a petri dish or memorial china plate or a porthole—which, by the way, is the vanguard of windows, the aperture we gaze at when we want to be kept safely, securely, hermetically safe from whatever is on the other end of the thin pane we slick with the heat of our faces—the kind of pleasing gridded surface, so straight!, so soothing!, so perfectly correct and uniform!, bone white squares cut by aurelian lines ostensibly lineal but in actually imperfect, bulging a bit, a bit sloppy, like a military garrison on parade—so close to perfect, but still (for now) human!—or the grout lines in your bathroom … yes!, it's a bathroom floor, encircled in the petri dish, viewed through the porthole, bathroom tiles gridded out with gold, surrounded by marble (of course!), perfect save a pox, the red of dried blood—it's the brightest color in the whole room, really, this dried-deoxygenated-but-still-too-fresh blood, each splock with its own idiosyncratic hair style, pili radiating as is from the weakest sun, clumping into constellations, gentle parabolic forms like arched eyebrows, carrying in them a sense of ad-hoc exigency, the kinetic beautiful violence requisite for their application demonstrated in their forms, an abstract take on a passage from a Bret Easton Ellis novel—The bathroom reeks of bleach and disinfectant and the floor is wet and gleaming even though the maid hasn't started cleaning in here yet; Glamorama, pg. 256—a form of silent violence, an echo of a moment captured in all of its chaos atop a bone white grid, gleaming with gold, surrounded by marble, a porthole into God's own bathroom…- B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Rebecca Morris | Untitled (#01-16), 2016. Oil and spray paint on canvas, 68 x 69 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist and Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago

Listed under: Review

June 06, 2016, 8:18am

Whitney Bedford: The Sinister Sublime

There are the trees, dark forms rising imperiously, and that's ok though, right?, a trick of the light, ombre over eyes, the natural failures of rods and cones—except they are so fucking black, atrous, really, black as coal, carbon, the remnants of fire, a sharp melange of serrations, selachian arcs, brachial bunches of alveoli, histological stains of striated muscle, pied abrasions, a forest seared into a wall, ashen memory, holocaustic photograph of a nuclear flash-lamp—and there is the sky, brilliant orange, too orange, unnaturally orange, not the color of monarch butterflies or poison dart frogs or innumerable other toxic lifeforms, not the color of citrus or lantanas or marigolds—dreadfully close to poppies, however—but safety orange, menacing safety orange, the kind commercial fishermen wear to be plucked from the black maw of the sea or hunter's place like a cuirass to protect against the accidental rending of human flesh, orange like the apocalypse, like literal and burning heat death, like the first and last glow of an existential risk, Nacarat Extinction, and it is apparent that East of Eden lies a place alien, fearful, sublime, hot and vibrating like catgut, verdant shoots even now erupting from the carbon and man-overboard-orange, and in the curve of the trees against the sky there is something pareidolic, a ghost in the nature, the SunSetter brow of an emaciated gorilla, perhaps, or, chest towards us, stereoscopic eyes thankfully looking away in majestic profile, the lean form of an ancient, savage, leopard, soft-gummed and eyeteeth innervate with pain, the kind which drags us, supposed Apex Animals, Fauna-cum-Gods, screaming into the impenetrable Cimmerian night, Jim Corbett save us!, sacred heart and sacred gun, the snuffing out of the flashes in the pan that turned the trees to cinder and the sky to fear. –  B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Whitney Bedford | The I do – I will, 2016, ink and oil on canvas on panel, 5 x 8 feet. Photo by Evan Bedford, courtesy of Carrie Secrist Gallery

Listed under: Review

November 24, 2015, 8:08am

Renee McGinnis: The Lazarus Fleet

Their faces are, for the most part, turned up in the universal angle of defiance—haughty! powerful! the coquettish imperial bearing of models, trusting—fervently praying—that what they have heard, what is whispered and shouted and injected into their very marrow is true, that their beauty is their birthright, that the aesthetic will hold, that pulchritude is a redoubt, impossibly thin but improbably strong—their noses aimed slightly forward to the sky, their strong, powerful lines—slavish lines, lines built with all of the force, knowledge, technology, hubris humanity can offer—their vanguard and leading edge, a knifing into the eventide they are doomed to forever ply, no, should!, should forever ply!, but are not, are resting ghoulishly atop the waves, and who could deny The Girls their defiant turn, their dangerous angle, being dead as they are? It is their final wish, their visual hagiography, the last cruise of the Lazarus Fleet, the dead risen from the depths, their opulence decayed and wearing gilt upon their prows, singing a mournful banshee's song, the churn of the screw and the pounding of the sea accented by the rhythmic clang of a skeletal pelvis hanging from the rode…- B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Renee McGinnis | MS Sea Horse, 2013, oil on mdf panel, 48 inch diameter. 
Photo courtesy of Renee McGinnis

Listed under: Review

July 15, 2015, 8:39am

Space: Edie Fake at Western Exhibitions

The blood is voltaic, salt and copper and life and death, flowing fast and high around the fever dream haemalducts of Edie Fake's The Blood Bank, imbued with a passionate glow which seems to radiate in juxtaposition with the cold, flat surfaces—marble? tile? stone?—which constitute its flowing surface, a room of stately and imposingly beautiful columns and arches, its facade shot through with sharp geometry, like a thousand black shark's teeth on pallid sand, the columns topped with ornate weeping bull's eyes; a dazzling array of colors—rococo patterns formed from tiles the color of salmon and toothpaste, bands of claret and powder blue, jade and bubblegum, lace of electric orange-red—is lost to the eye by the great flowing blood's final destination, a pool fit for a Bathory, its deep center a rich bordeaux, fed by the blood flowing through the veins around the room's ceiling, flowing hot—like lava around the edge of a caldera—hot in color and consequence, biologically and ethically, burning in memory with fear, anger, paranoia, colored the red of passion and hazard both, blood from them, blood begetting panic, the blood of the AIDS crisis, the dread invisible specter preying on the edges, closing the bath houses and haunting the blood banks,  a nightmare, blood a commodity and curse, the mark of Cain and the gift of vigor, forever pouring into Fake's pool, which must be deep, deeper than the sea, to never jump its cold, slick sides, leaving not so much as a patina as its waves lap and stop with a clinical precision, and one stares into the sanguineous abyss, is presented—with disconcerting pulchritude—the horrors of a not-so-distant past, a spiritual kind of hemorrhagic shock. –  B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Edie Fake | The Blood Bank, 2015, ink and gouache on paper, 22 x 30 inches. Photo courtesy of Western Exhibitions

Listed under: Review

April 17, 2015, 8:39am

Angel Otero: The Scarlet Self

There are entire worlds—entire existences—suspended within there, floating up to gazes which have been detached long enough—or ran down, heaving and glassy eyed, caned and fatigued—to pick up on such things, looming forms ascending like the prophetic pyramid out of the cuttlefish-ink abyssal  underbelly of an 8-ball, rising and falling and materializing out of the blood brume; there are entire continents, cream continents adrift in an angry sea of cadmium, a granular expanse—as if someone chunked up a block of anatomist's arterial wax, dumped it into a pneumatic cannon, and proceeded to broadside raw canvas—ripe for pareidolia. Their borders are fringed, cloudy, a particulate demarcation of crimson gnats, and that fuzz is really what the fuss is all about, an adroit—if blatant, once one sees it—analogue to the fungible nature of perception, memory, and self; there are images contained within the blood brumes, although it is only by the grace of Angel Otero's exposition that we are privy to this, as they have been translated, riven, reconstituted, and then pressed—like a witch!—into their current, beautifully abused form; these were photographs once, the ultimate form of mimesis, until a triturator has placed his hands upon them, riven them, splayed them…and look at the bloody, powdery mess made of ipseity now!  – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Angel Otero | I am the place I come back to, 2015, silicone and cadmium pigment on canvas, 96 x 120 x 2 inches. Photo courtesy of Kavi Gupta.

Listed under: Review

April 06, 2015, 10:13am

John Sabraw: Pulchritude from Pollution

There's these streams, these, like … death streams, running all along the hollers and open wounds and scars and deep, dark hills of southeastern Ohio, like in Athens county or Crooksville, Sunday Creek country, these fucking chameleon streams, born crystal virgin pure—a hideous faux-virginity! pure fatality, no other kind of purity suspended in there!—and eventually, running along like Leiningen's ants or pyroclastic flows or Kali, in that dread, beautiful motion, which sweeps life away, they eventually begin blooming into this fabulous reddish-orange, the color of rafflesia petals, and running along with nothing but gravity and iron and sulfuric acid in it, no aquatic life at all. This ichor flows all along the hills, perfectly beautiful and perfectly deadly, a conflation of the earth and the vicious byproducts we left when we entered the earth, gross seeping wounds we didn't bother to cauterize or seal properly when they stopped sustaining us, when the black precious coal could no longer be found, when blood from a stone no longer made economic sense, and after we left the earth cut open, vivisected and scooped out, it sat still and decided to slowly poison us, poison the fish and crawdads and deer, in vengeful retribution. – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


John Sabraw | Arco, 2015, oil on canvas, 96 x 62 inches, Photos courtesy of Thomas McCormick Gallery

Listed under: Review

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