Glenn Ligon’s neon text based work at Luhring Augustine is continuation of the artist lineage of art that toys with issues of race, language, class, sex, and identity. I’ve seen many images of these works online so it was nice to experience them in person within an intimate gallery space. The ambience of the neon glow has quite an effective presence when experiencing this work , something not realized in image. I appreciate how Ligon’s text appears to float of the wall and fuzz into the gallery space, which makes his quirky and satyrical messages even more potent.
By far the best show I saw in Chicago in 2013. Wendy White’s work in Pick Up a Knock attempts to ravel the process of painting with the intensity of a professional soccer match. Each canvas is filled with an airy picture plane that juxtaposes graphical text with atmospheric airbrush marks and washed out images of injured soccer players . This show was tight. Everything from the installation, the arrangement of borders on each canvas, the conceptual connection to ‘flopping’, and the white astro turf, it all jived well together. It’s a shame Wendy didn’t have a room larger than Rafacz’s narrow gallery space because I wanted more.
Chris McCaw’s Making Time at Yossi Milo Gallery showcases the process based artist polarized photographs. McCaw captures the phenomenon of the midnight sun descending over a span of up to 24 hours in the Alaskan summer using specialized large format cameras. The process, which registers directly onto the photo paper, burns holes directly through it as a result of overexposure. McCaw captures the movement of the sun in a reverse polarization to create a ghostly celestial gray toned image. Filled with over 35 pieces, this exhibition took years in the making and effectively displays the artist’s unique take on the traditional B & W photographic process.
Garry Simmons show at Metro Pictures is an extensive catalog of paintings, drawings, and sculptures made over the last 20 years. The work surveys Simmons long quest into the status of race today in contemporary culture through a wide range of mediums and methods. Simmons work, which is at once cheeky, dark, and twisted, seems to be concentrated on the fact that racial concerns can be recirculated and reinvented to generate an alternative lens on their history. His erased blackboard drawings and smeared text paintings suggest an attempt at erasing a loaded history and that through time the significance of racial issues begin to blur and loose resolution.