Monday Morning Quarterback: 1/22/11

by Stephanie Burke

Saturday night we bundled up and headed out to Oak Park to Shane Campbell/The Suburban. The Suburban (the south room of the garage) contained works by Philip Vanderhyden, Zach Formwalt, Danna Vajda, and Chris Dorland, joined under the title of, descriptively enough, LARGE ABSTRACTIONS. Not being one to be particularly enthralled with most abstract (in the stricter sense) work, I appreciated the comical interplay of physically large, literal, representative abstraction, and ideological, ephemeral meditations on "large" abstract ideas. I think of all the works in LARGE ABSTRACTIONS I enjoyed Vajda photograph the most, as it was not only visually striking in an of itself, but was most elevated conceptually through its context in the exhibition.

We walked out of The Suburban, paced north a mere 10' or so, and entered Shane Campbell (the north room of the garage). Therein we found Chris Bradley's "exhibition," consisting of a single ruffled potato chip sticking half way out of the wall. I love Chris's work, because I have yet to see a piece by him without having a mental "WTF?" moment. Chris does not have a particularly maniacal laugh, but I imagine him standing back, drumming his fingers, and laughing at everyone as they look at the piece. In many ways his work reminds me of both Bruce Nauman and Tim Hawkinson. On a related note, I would like to nominate the keg as an honorary member of Chris's show, and here's why: the absurdity of a whole room with nothing but a chip sticking out of the wall invites the same curious bewilderment as a keg, outside, on ice, in the winter in Chicago.

Last stop of the evening was Swimming Pool Project Space, to check out A Healthy Skepticism, featuring works by Joshua Abelow, Carl Baratta and Josh Reames. I think that Saturday night was an evening for comic relief in art.  The punny nature of Reames' celestial ladder and image of a celestial ladder were fun, a bit of Led Zeppelin meets Joseph Kosuth. I also really appreciated Abelow's work, especially the nose-in-the-eye-socket piece. Just weird enough, just dirty enough, Jesse and I were thinking the same thing: super Shel Silverstein. And not Light in the Attic Shel, but rather Freakin at the Freakers Ball Shel.

Stephanie Burke
was born in Nevada City, CA in 1984. She received her BA in Studio Art
and Anthropology from Humboldt State University in 2007, and her MFA in
Photography from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009.
Currently she lives in Chicago with her husband Jeriah,
makes work, teaches, writes for Bad at Sports, runs Art Talk Chicago, and maintains
her own blog, The Gallery Crawl and So Much More.
When not making, teaching, looking at, or writing about art, she enjoys
running around in the woods, drinking beer by bonfires, crazy quilting
and target shooting.

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