November 18, 2017, 9:11am
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
October 10, 2017, 12:51pm
What they lack in accuracy—or, like, even resemblance—they more than make up for with essence, with vibe, you know?, the kind of exaggerated impossible realness one finds in boardwalk caricaturists and political cartoonists and magical realists that serves as shorthand and signature and x-ray and fMRI all at once … the owl, white as terror and blank as fear, for example, the cold, clean lack of hue that instantly calls to mind Empire, logic, rhetoric, chin tucked and beak silent under brows pointed as the tip of the spear, his wing falling across his shoulder and back like a pallium, a majestic senatorial little creature, from Minerva's court to the curio cabinet … or take whatever beast that is, with its haughty pout and crimson lip, tarantula leg eye lashes and pink bow, perhaps a puppy but reading more as a kitten—anatomy be damned!—as she most definitely possess that ruling feline trait, the intoxicating insouciance with which they have courted our love and desire for approval for centuries, that fickle heart blown out, amplified, drawn across her lips, looking like the love interests that would drive old Tom to mutilate himself in search of a living gift … and then the lesser critters of the copse and field, the squirrels and rabbits and chipmunks and fawns and field mice, arrested and frozen—animals which vibrate with anxious muscle and survival instinct—and finally able to be examined, loved, doted on, adored, those fleeting moments when one locks eyes before the animal in questions dashes away, your lingering love banging like a chestburster against its ribcage, tearing through yards and hedges while you are tearing with unrequited affections, well, we've fixed them, haven't we, all of them, twisted nature yet again—and not without true ecological impact, as is, being the mightiest of earth's creatures, our wont—and created bespoke wild for the everyday person, a one-time cost collection of pets to keep in the home, evoking both recoils and coos, the porcelain menagerie…- B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor
September 17, 2017, 9:23am
EXPO Chicago, like many of its art fair counterparts, contains the requisite grabby, show-stoppers we’ve come to expect. However, after the initial lure of the spectacle fades, the eye begins to locate the stronger, more contemplative works emerging from the depths of the exhibitor booths. The works of these six artists are prime examples of pieces that reward a slower viewing, that expand, deepen and reveal more, the longer you look. – Robin Dluzen, Chicago Contributor
Elise Ferguson | Bats, pigmented plaster on MDF, 40" x 30"
July 12, 2017, 8:39am
It's radiant, really, fucking radiant in that flat-flash, bursting way, the terrible beautiful brilliance of a blank screen or the momentary dawning of a second, subjected sun—wrought by us, meant for us, heat and power of the kind which makes people gods—over a blighted Pacific atoll, radiant and giving off a palpable …vibe, a kind of psychic heat, Heavy Sunshine, buzzing from the apian engine which drives it with the cosmic exigency which only derives from density, an immensely dense little star of positivity, happy imagery—flowers, mountains, clouds, houses, bees, bunnies, books, baseballs, brick facades, bananas, watermelon slices, apples and pineapples and mushrooms, computer monitors, keys, clocks, lampshades, pyramids, the majority made animate, all gaping eyes and content smiles stretching across their faces like cats in a sunbeam—condensing into a heavy star, loosed now and setting in to a dark sea obliterating, by virtue of its weight, all that lays before it, so long as any wavelength still finds its mark among the rods and cones; a washing over of giddy happiness, all of the sudden made manifest—like the soft dolphin clicking which makes background radiation real—by an ecosystem fed by the heavy sunshine, lapping up those vibes, spilling out from the walls and onto the floors, grass, green grass, too-green grass, the putt-putt Eden which will never die and upon which sprout fungi whose life cycles are not derived from the decay of matter, but instead of inhibitions, fears, doubts, angers, hatreds, anxieties, all manner of varieties of the grossly negative which stick, plaque-like, to the brain, and all of which are obliterated—that's the only word, the proper word—by the heavy sunshine of the radiant little dense positivity star, burned and devoured in the light of weaponized joy, the kind which dissolves people into paroxysmal saline puddles of tears and teeth, gratitude etched across each grin by benevolent, indomitable force…– B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor
May 25, 2017, 9:28am
What it looks like is, ok, like the hurried ancillary sculpture of an active hand, like a Monument to a Moment, the slip—in the course of creation—of fabric, the errant falling and perfect, frozen fantastic memory of a bolt in some divine designer-artist's atelier, a static haint of a kinetic flourish, the same ephemeral, cigarette-smoke beauty we find curling from a hot cherry or in the letting down, the glorious, luxurious exhale, of an up-do or cascading over the side of some steep embankment, Niagara, Victoria, Angel; it looks like the terrible, painful Monument to a Moment One Would Rather Forget, like a broken arm—the radius and ulna snapped through, the spasming, spider-sprayed-with-bleach digits dangling, the grotesque thing held together by extensor and flexor carpi radialus, flexor and extensor pollicis longus and brevis, radialii, digitorums, palmaris longus, pronator teres, the lonely exertions of the biceps brachi—but only when viewed with the negative and corporeal in mind; it looks like mis-caught pizza dough, with its pallid spine draped over the hand like an examined necklace, or a sea cucumber being garroted, and only all of these things—minus the textile—if one ignores the colors, the combination of GO Transit green and raw, creamy canvas, which gives it a Gilded Age flair even as gravity leaves it dangling in its belly, but what Green Stripes Event (so perfectly named!) does not look like, at first blush, is a painting; it's obviously painted, of course—those stripes aren't woven, didn't come from nowhere—and has those various things a painting would have, where it to be broken down anatomically—and it is the protrusion, like a compound fracture, of the painting's support, broken at the top, dangling at the bottom, which gives it both its injurious and closet-ready qualities, although the former is far more important, and keeping with the spirit of the show, than the latter—but it does not sit like a painting, compose itself as a painting should, back straight, belly tight, against the wall, a tidy lie, telling us that it exists in two dimensions… - B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor
April 28, 2017, 8:16am
Like many artists who work in mixed media, Shawn Turung is difficult to neatly categorize. She paints with a muralist’s sensibility, constructing a vertical narrative within the architectural space the work inhabits. She deliberately works toward the edge of chaos, pushing painting to behave more like sculpture, and fluid ink brush painting to imitate the stylized forms of graffiti. - Diana Gaston, New Mexico Contributor
April 15, 2017, 9:10am
Any one of the 90+ national and international galleries that exhibited at the 9th annual Dallas Art Fair this past weekend will likely agree on one thing: Dallas is serious about building relationships. And of course with those good relationships comes good business. It’s that process that I’ve seen expand and sharpen over the past five years I’ve attended the event. What’s really unique about this fair extends to what is really special about Dallas and that is an accessibility that isn’t easily found within larger cities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there were plenty of VIP events and high end meet ups but there were also open invite after parties where everyone from Journalists to Dallas based artists danced with international gallerists, collectors, and local graduate students. What happens outside the manageable sized fair allows for visiting galleries and artists to actually spend time in the city further connecting with Dallas as an arts destination and home to a thriving arts community. What was happening inside the fair was a scattering of phenomenal paintings throughout two floors at the F.I.G Building in Downtown Dallas. – Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor
March 22, 2017, 9:39am
Arthur Peña: We first met in 2011 while I was at RISD and what stuck with me from that meeting was a story of how your father wasn’t allowed in museums because they were still segregated. How I remember the rest of the story is you saying that when you did have your first museum show you wanted to make paintings big enough that they wouldn’t fit through the door and the museum would have to work to get them in. Did I remember that right?
Stanley Whitney: Well it’s true that my father couldn’t go in to the Philadelphia Museum. Jack Whitten calls those years the “American Apartheid.” I have lots of stories of paintings not fitting through doors but I don’t think it’s exactly those circumstances. Although, I might have mentioned something like that. It could have been related to a story from around 2006 when my dealer José Freire came to me and asked me to make the biggest work I could make to take to Basel to try and make things happen because he kept putting me in shows and no one was paying me any mind. So I made the biggest painting I could make in my studio, 96 x 96 in., and to get it out we had to cut it in half to get it through the door. We showed it on a big expensive wall and it didn’t sell.
March 14, 2017, 8:20am
This interview took place on the occasion of Bleckner’s solo show, “Find a peaceful place where you can make plans for the future” at the Dallas Contemporary.
March 13, 2017, 12:34pm
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