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EXPO Chicago Top Five

This year’s EXPO Chicago felt much like the 2012 fair with a similar showing of galleries and the wonderful interior environment designed by Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang Architects again adding elegance to the lounge areas (love those noodle couches!). The only marked difference was the absence of Jessica Stockholder whose work seemed to be present in every other booth last year.

Here’s my top five artist picks amidst the 120 galleries represented:

Judy Pfaff
There was a strange mix of wall relief pieces from 1984 to 2013, but the same wild and unrestrained signature Pfaff style unified the collection presented by Carl Solway Galleries in Cincinnati. I’ve always been a huge fan of her work and the latest pieces utilizing honeycomb cardboard and paper lanterns she found through her travels through China are full of energy and noise.

Betty Woodman
I almost mistook Woodman’s work for a Matisse cut-out (which wouldn’t have seemed out of place next to the booth dedicated to Motherwell’s collages).  Instead of painted paper, she utilizes glazed ceramic slab pieces and pots as collage elements against canvas. The result is far from crafty and it should be noted that Betty Woodman was 82 when she made this piece last year…what an absolute legend!

Greg Bogin
I’m sure I’m not the only one who was intrigued by the odd yet enthralling yellow urethane sculpture on show in Koenig and Clinton’s booth by Greg Bogin. The piece is incredibly seductive and well-lit to show the slight translucency of the material. It left me wanting to see more of Bogin’s work.

Clive Murphy
Who can resist fully inflated BBQ cardboard boxes and FedEx packing? These pieces are playful yet the level of their inflation makes me uneasy; I can almost hear the explosive pop should their pressure be released. On researching more of Murphy’s work, he is certainly not a ‘one-trick-pony’ as I had suspected and definitely one to watch.

Kaari Upson
Upson’s mattress drew me into an otherwise dull gallery booth; its fleshy forms and strange rectangular impression where we would expect a soft head-shaped imprint adds to the unsettling undertone of the piece.  I assume it is made of cast silicone like her other mattress pieces (the scribbled label only listed her name) and this one has an even more disconcerting feeling with its size association to cots and infants.

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