This week: Duncan and Richard talk to Spencer Finch about his current exhibition “Study for Disappearance” at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery.
What is the color of the threshold – of that liminal space before day plunges into night? Spencer Finch attempts to answer this question through his most recent body of work created specifically for Study for Disappearance, his fourth solo exhibition at Rhona Hoffman Gallery. Each watercolor diptych in this new series individually renders violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red as they appear on objects in his Brooklyn studio. On one side of each diptych, Finch has labeled the swatches of varying hues of a single color according to the object that bears them: â€œcandle,â€ â€œbrick sample (Baltimore),â€ and â€œbull-fighting posterâ€ to name a few. This study is paired with that of the identical collection of objects observed as the colors shift to grayscale with the dimming daylight. Slowing down the viewerâ€™s process of seeing, Finch guides us through the nuances of the fading light and the stages of visual perception. Accompanying the watercolor diptychs is a new light box piece, Color Test 600, comprised of various multicolored squares layered together to create an abstract study of darkness.
The ephemeral light of dusk is a seductive territory for Finch and such fleeting scenarios fuel his artistic process. Artworks such as the light installations West (Sunset in My Motel Room, Monument Valley, January 26, 2007, 5:36 â€“ 6:06 PM) and Dusk (Hudson River Valley, October 30, 2005) have transported the light quality of a specific place during that transitory magic hour to the setting of art galleries and museums worldwide. Once again, for Study for Disappearance, Finch has succeeded in blending scientific method with a poetic sensibility to both record the light and color of the physical world and simultaneously explore the intangible and ethereal essence of a place. This time, Finch generously offers an intimate look at the enchanted and often confidential space of the artistâ€™s studio.
Hello again my friends. Sorry for the lateness. First off, one more round of shameless self promotion, and I promise this will be the last one for a while. This Saturday night, for one night only, Flesh and Bone, a exhibition curated by myself, Jeriah Hildwine, and Annie Heckman, will be up at Co-Prosperity Sphere and HPAC. We’ve brought together 24 amazing artists, and are presenting their macabre works for this exhibition. If you’re anywhere on the south side, or can get there, please stop by, you won’t beÂ disappointed. You can hit HPAC any time between 1pm and 10pm. Co-Prosperity’s reception is from 7pm-9pm, after 9pm there is a cover, and bands will be playing. Ok, enough about that, on to the Top 5!
Work by Zach Taylor and Aaron Williams.
Linda Warren Gallery is located at 1052 W. Fulton Mkt. Reception is Friday from 6-9pm.
Text based work at one of Chi-town’s blue chippers.
Rhona Hoffman Gallery is located at 118 N. Peoria St. Reception is Friday from 5:30-7pm.
Halloween horror art from the place that brought you The Unicorn Show.
Tattoo Factory Gallery is located at 4443 N. Broadway. Reception is Friday from 6-11pm.
No show image available, so I justÂ pickedÂ somethingÂ appropriate. And I quote, “Reuben Kincaid andÂ The Hills Esthetic Center present an exhibition from the French Print HouseÂ Le Dernier Cri.”
The Hills Esthetic Center is located at 128 N. Campbell Ave., Unit G. Reception is Friday from 8-11pm.
Work by David Harper.
Swimming Pool Project Space is located at 2858 W. Montrose Ave. Reception is Saturday from 5-9pm.
This week: Duncan, Richard and guest co-host Dr. Amy Mooney, Associate Professor of Art History at Columbia College, talk with superstar artist Kehinde Wiley about his work and his exhibition “The World Stage: India-Sri Lanka” which just opened at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery (through October 23, 2010).
The following seemingly outdated bio was lifted from the New Museum of Contemporary Art.
Kehinde Wiley was born in Los Angeles in 1977. He received his BFA in 1999 from the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated from Yale University School of Art two years later. Wiley is viewed as the modern-day heir to a long line of portraitists –Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Tiepolo– from whom he appropriates the symbols and visual language of heroism, power, and opulence in his realistic renderings of urban black men. While referencing specific old master paintings and fusing period elements– French Rococo ornamentation, Islamic architecture, West African textile design– into his portraits, the final works convey a very urban, contemporary aesthetic because of the subjects portrayed and their hip-hop influenced attire. Wiley succeeds in his intent to blur the boundaries between traditional and present-day modes of representation, as he says to “quote historical sources and position young black men within that field of power.”
Richard Rezac has a wonderful exhibition up right now at Rhona Hoffman Gallery (through February 2, 2010). In addition, the Modern Wing of the Art Institute is currently displaying six Rezac sculptures (spanning the years 1985-2008) from its Collection — they’ll be on view through early May. Rezac had a survey exhibition at the Gahlberg Gallery of the College of DuPage last year (the exhibition’s catalogue, which contains an enlightening essay by James Yood, is available for download on the Gahlberg Gallery’s website; just click on the link above to go there).
Richard generously agreed to answer a few questions about his latest works via email. I’m very grateful to him for taking the time to provide such illuminating and thoughtful responses.
You won the Rome Prize fellowship in 2006, which enabled you to travel to Italy to study Roman architecture in greater depth. To what extent did having a more sustained, daily interaction with Roman architecture impact your work?
That 11 month experience in Rome and in numerous parts of Italy has had a strong, and I trust, lasting effect, though because it was so substantive, I still do not know the extent of the influence. My purpose was to study the Baroque architecture of Francesco Borromini, whose 11 or so buildings are all in Rome. My approach in taking this in was naturally one of an artist, not an historian, though I certainly read what I could about his work and that of his immediate predecessors and those he influenced, especially Juvarra and Guarini in Turin.
The great pleasure was in seeing Borromini’s architecture (and eventually a large group of drawings in Vienna) on a near weekly basis, allowing me to feel aspects of his accomplishment and study many details. I was also privileged, by the American Academy’s offices, to gain entry to parts of his buildings normally off-limits.
The effect on my sculpture is not so clear to me, other than a continuation of some complexity – several materials or layers or juxtaposed forms within one work resulting in a, perhaps, more broad, gently argumentative, dynamic. In the long arc, though, of my sculptural language from the past 25 years, there has been an evolution from simple and concrete form to more extended, thin, linear and colored form, so the desire to be around Borromini’s architecture was in some sense anticipated by my work before I went there.
Along with architecture, I often think of interior design when viewing your sculptures. Some of them, for me, bring to mind things as mundane as contemporary kitchen and bathroom fixtures! After coming home from viewing your show, the kitchen faucets, towel racks, and cabinet knobs in my house–the particular geometries of their placement and their relationship to my body–all of a sudden stood out for me. Even the old-fashioned diamond tile in my bathroom floor started to “dance” for me in new ways. Am I being overly-specific here, or do you yourself ever draw inspiration from commonplace domestic interiors?
There is certainly a resemblance to ornament, facets of interior design objects, furniture, and architectural detail, such as moldings, in my sculpture of the past 6-8 years. I attribute this mainly to geometric form – the basic language in which my sculpture originates. Perhaps most manufactured applied design objects rely on the ease of elemental, efficient geometric forms. So there is an overlap, to be sure, between the common domestic accessories often handled or those elements produced in multiples as in tile flooring and the appearance of some of my forms or combinations.
I consider most of my sculpture, and all of those that are untitled, to be abstract and they may only arrive at some suggestiveness or association to domestic elements when completed and then exist in our space. I have rarely begun a work with the intention of representing another existing form, if anything it is in pursuit of a persona or complex phenomena. I am most interested, in as much as is possible for me, in starting with nothing and finding a satisfying form or arrangement.
Not acquainted with the work of Robert Overby? Here’s a chance to start. If you live in Chicago you can currently see two stunning examples of this still under-appreciated artist’s work (which isn’t surprising, since not only did Overby die in 1993, he stopped showing his artwork in commercial contexts early on in his art career). Concrete Screen Door, 1970, now part of the Art Institute of Chicago’s permanent collection, is now on view in the Modern Wing, and Two Window Wall Map, 1972 has just been installed as part of a group show of gallery artists in the back half of Rhona Hoffman Gallery in the West Loop.
Born in 1935 in Harvey, Illinois, Overby attended the School of the Art Institute in Chicago in the mid-1950s and later moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a graphic designer and taught advertising and graphic design. Whereas artists like Gordon Matta Clark took a surgical approach to architectural materiality, slicing into buildings in order to unearth new and previously impossible perspectives, Overby focused on the outer layer: making latex casts of building facades and canvas “maps” of building interiors that functioned simultaneously as images and recordings. In a 2000 Freize review of Overby’s retrospective at the UCLA Hammer Museum, Charles La Belle described the artist as “specializing in a brand of corrupted (he called it ‘Baroque’) Minimalism.” Writes La Belle:
“He instilled a highly personal, poetic, and social content into what were basically reductive, process-oriented works; marrying pure materials such as rubber, lead, canvas, concrete, resin, and wood to banal objects and abject spaces. All manner of crappy, dirty, broken things formed the subject of his work: socks and handkerchiefs, shattered windows and splintered doors, bondage masks, beaver shots, coat-hangers, cans, belly-buttons, and man-hole covers all cropped up during the high point of his production in the 1970s. With his been-down-so-long-it-looks-like-up-to-me sensibility Overby wasnâ€™t afraid to crawl in the gutter and the resultant work refused to accommodate itself to the expectations of market or spectator.”
Overby’s 2000 Hammer retrospective generated lots of attention and several follow-up exhibitions at galleries and smaller museums over the following couple of years, but for now, those who wish to learn more about Overby’s work will have to check with their local museum to see if any of this artist’s works are in its collections. Chicagoans have an opportunity to see two very good examples on public view right now; hopefully one day the Art Institute or the MCA may acquire one of Overby’s more spectacular (if such a word can be applied to this low-key grunge minimalist) latex pieces as well.