I am not sure why the organizers of the MDW show decided to have another one at the Geolofts building so soon after the last. I always assume these things are annual events. But I couldn’t have been the only one to find plenty to like at their presentation last April, and although there’s lots of junk on display, I think I saw even more good work at this one.
Most of the presenters at the fair are “alternative spaces, ” which can mean anything from an apartment gallery to something completely virtual, and Western Exhibitions is one of the few “mainstream” galleries with a booth. It’s showing Paul Nudd, whose paintings convey the grisly scatology of the body and its parts, and, according to the estimable James Yood, feature “a surfeit of detailed ooze that is every bit as funny as it is grotesque.” Also beautiful to look at, with deliciously executed detail in a great palette of mixed media.
It’s easy to see how he’s been influenced by the Chicago Imagist painters Karl Wirsum and Jim Nutt. But with the overall scale, the verticality of the images and the rich, saturated colors, I’m seeing Gustav Klimt.
I am a sucker for installation art, but I also have a thing for a great installation of individual pieces — I have lately become a huge fan of the Things Organized Neatly site — which is probably the primary reason why I liked the Frank Pollard pieces that art writer Michael Workman presented under the banner of Antidote.
If you like contemporary art, you have to resign yourself to the fact that it’s generally all about the life of the artist. The challenge to the viewer is to absorb it and apply some measure of universality to it. So it’s a little disconcerting to read that Pollard’s pictures are all representations of monsters and demons who inhabit his “lucid dreams.” Despite this, the way the pieces are displayed — their “merchandising” — makes them work.
Adi Goodrich’s Lieben und Arbeiten [a Freudian reference to love and work] really shows you the impact of an installation on how you perceive art.
The painted plywood representations of tools illustrate a great back-story: they’re replicas of the specific working items in a particular machine shop where Goodrich came to know several generations of the family owners. Displayed as a group on a pegboard, they’re subversive, because they’re not “really” tools, yet they make us focus on the beauty of simple utilitarian objects. I wish the execution were better, though; up close, the individual components are kind of sloppy.
I also liked work by Kristina Paabus at Hinge Gallery. Some very precise pencil drawings
and this mixed media construction that is meant to lean against the wall, like a collection of decorated tombstones.
Portage Art Space showed still life works from two artists: paintings by Chicagoan Pamela Johnson that depict crumpled food wrappers, dramatically lit in the manner of tabletop ad photography; I found them a little cheesy. But I really liked Los Angeleno Sydney Croskery’s precise graphite drawings of household electronics, finely executed expressions of clutter.
If I saw nothing else at the show, though, the trip would have been worthwhile for having discovered the work of Tom Torluemke in what really amounts to a small scale career retrospective.
When I walked into the booth, I thought Linda Warren had mounted a group show of gallery artists, but all the pieces are Torluemke’s. He’s almost absurdly versatile and wildly prolific, and he appears skilled in all of it: a painterly mural illustrating his recurring dream motifs; dioramas that suggest stage sets for surrealist productions; suspended sculptures of painted plywood cutouts; a huge pencil drawing depicting the artist at the Playboy Mansion in a tableaux with Hef and a slew of bunnies. There are also watercolor street scenes and selections of the daily political cartoons he posts on his blog.
Torluemke is so good at so many things, the purist in me wants to encourage him to pick one medium and perfect it. But he strikes me as having the kind of creative energy that wouldn’t allow him to focus quite that way. Linda Warren is giving him a bigger show next year, and I can’t wait to see what’s in it.
- capital-ventures likes this
- photograghy-passion likes this
- charitable-giving likes this
- personalview-comment likes this
- organic-bamford likes this
- constrution-bamford reblogged this from visualculturist
- kara-olsen reblogged this from visualculturist
- ooooooooooz likes this
- aindrea-gomes reblogged this from visualculturist
- emptychatrooms likes this
- lovercraft likes this
- visualculturist posted this