Review by Claire Haasl
Steve Rebora’s Magic Show inserts a bit of humor into the gallery scene this Friday, so if you’re looking for a not-so-serious exhibition make sure to stop in at the Vale Craft Gallery in River North. There you will be greeted by multiple hat-box-sized wooden sculptures of a “magic” rabbit who pops out of a magician’s hat all on his own. The rabbit, Rebora states, “represents such a twist” because he is no longer the subject of the trick and has become the magician. These light-hearted sculptures may also represent Rebora’s own joy in becoming the artist
that he has long wanted to be. His career began as a cartoonist, but after marrying and starting a family Rebora found himself needing to bring home a paycheck and put his dreams of becoming and artist aside. After his retirement Rebora began creating wooden sculptures like the magicians rabbit, a somewhat cute and sprightly character that if it were the size of a two-storey house might be mistaken for a Dean Koontz sculpture. The colors Rebora uses in each piece, like the black of the hat and the white of the rabbit, contrast each other in the same way the rabbit in his role as the magician contrasts the typical role as the subject of a trick. In conjunction with this contrast of black and white Rebora uses bright and saturated colors of reds, yellows, and blues. His primary pallet is one that harkens back to his years as a cartoonist and allows the viewer to easily relate to the story of the rabbit who overcomes all odds to pull himself from the hat of the magician and put on his own show. Rebora also plays with form and scale in his work. His rabbit reminds us of the mascot for Trix cereal with his big floppy ears–an impressive quality since they are made from wood–and his great big feet and tiny ankles. All this being said, stop in at Vale Craft Gallery on your tour of galleries Friday night, where you will be able to meet the 70-year-old artist and enjoy artwork that is easily relatable, a little amusing, and for the most part just really fun.