B. David Zarley

February 04, 2016, 1:54pm

Erin Washington: Dust to Dust

These colors survive— not, notice, thrive, or flourish, or bloom, although some do carry a floral note about them and all are temptingly considered as analogous to the anemone, beauty from blood, pain—most explicitly beyond the pale, on the periphery, the edge, the places carrying head on out beyond the solid and material plane and hanging, like gravid pauses, over nothing, like Odin from Yggdrasil or street lamps, incandescent color suspended over and illuminating voids, gaps, prismatic trimmings buried like the K/Pg boundary, a band of violence and romance and the proliferation of things difficult to recognize, study, taxonomize, comprehend, so that one looks at, say, a marvelous representation of a Hellenic-style sculpture of a woman's face and neck, Ruin and cosmic dust, in chalk!, becomes absorbed in the kinetic nature of it, of the legion of little cuts and scores which birthed her, the beak and talon marks of Prometheus' eagle in the long-coagulated, tar-like chalkboard blood of the perpetually riven, of the elegant curve of a neck, the carotid groove, being summoned from the most didactic of mediums, the upper lip and eyes piled up as if from snow, the bridge of the nose resting like Golgotha, the dogwood beams born across her forehead—no room for Pallas to get out of there!—and the small nebulae and clouds of uncrossed tally marks and all this hermetic, glorious, intricate beautiful stuff and suddenly screaming out there on the edge is this band, the colorful K/Pg layer, running like snakeskin or a Fruit by the Foot along the upper corner, process yellow and grapefruit flesh and paint-cap-groove green, and the one notices it, too, throughout the painting now, flashes of color, of inspiration!, crocuses in a black snow. - B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Erin Washington | Ruin and cosmic dust, 2015, chalk, acrylic, and gouache on panel, 20 x 16 inches. 
Photo courtesy of Zolla/Lieberman

Listed under: Review

November 24, 2015, 8:08am

Renee McGinnis: The Lazarus Fleet

Their faces are, for the most part, turned up in the universal angle of defiance—haughty! powerful! the coquettish imperial bearing of models, trusting—fervently praying—that what they have heard, what is whispered and shouted and injected into their very marrow is true, that their beauty is their birthright, that the aesthetic will hold, that pulchritude is a redoubt, impossibly thin but improbably strong—their noses aimed slightly forward to the sky, their strong, powerful lines—slavish lines, lines built with all of the force, knowledge, technology, hubris humanity can offer—their vanguard and leading edge, a knifing into the eventide they are doomed to forever ply, no, should!, should forever ply!, but are not, are resting ghoulishly atop the waves, and who could deny The Girls their defiant turn, their dangerous angle, being dead as they are? It is their final wish, their visual hagiography, the last cruise of the Lazarus Fleet, the dead risen from the depths, their opulence decayed and wearing gilt upon their prows, singing a mournful banshee's song, the churn of the screw and the pounding of the sea accented by the rhythmic clang of a skeletal pelvis hanging from the rode…- B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Renee McGinnis | MS Sea Horse, 2013, oil on mdf panel, 48 inch diameter. 
Photo courtesy of Renee McGinnis

Listed under: Review

October 26, 2015, 9:00am

Nina Rizzo: Environmental Impact

It takes a moment for the eyes to adjust—atavistic mimesis! faux-fear, sympathetic nervous system goosing, the ultimate success of the palette of the night!—and for the wild bereavement of the eyes being divorced from the mind to subside, basic outlines, the context, the color, the safety, to materialize like haints in the gloaming, signposts and sirens demarcating and drawing through the darkness, through midnight and navy blues, still-warm oxblood, unfathomable purples, shadows thick enough to smother, to obfuscate, to kill, great ragged heaping breaths—ribcage expanding gulps—in the brief flashes —royal! the sky? a flower?—which open like false editorial spread irises to provide for the killing of Kurtz and the comforting recognition of shapes, shapes engorged, swollen sweet and suspended, striated like carapaces or the long, primed, puckered muscles of the thigh, like ladders from Pluto, the fat wet tongues of leaves lapping against and pulling the eyes, as if by slow jungle steamer, into and through Nina Rizzo's Conradian jungle. –  B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Nina Rizzo | Long Night in the Garden, 2015, oil on canvas, 60 x 120 inches. Photo courtesy of Linda Warren Projects

Listed under: Review

July 15, 2015, 8:39am

Space: Edie Fake at Western Exhibitions

The blood is voltaic, salt and copper and life and death, flowing fast and high around the fever dream haemalducts of Edie Fake's The Blood Bank, imbued with a passionate glow which seems to radiate in juxtaposition with the cold, flat surfaces—marble? tile? stone?—which constitute its flowing surface, a room of stately and imposingly beautiful columns and arches, its facade shot through with sharp geometry, like a thousand black shark's teeth on pallid sand, the columns topped with ornate weeping bull's eyes; a dazzling array of colors—rococo patterns formed from tiles the color of salmon and toothpaste, bands of claret and powder blue, jade and bubblegum, lace of electric orange-red—is lost to the eye by the great flowing blood's final destination, a pool fit for a Bathory, its deep center a rich bordeaux, fed by the blood flowing through the veins around the room's ceiling, flowing hot—like lava around the edge of a caldera—hot in color and consequence, biologically and ethically, burning in memory with fear, anger, paranoia, colored the red of passion and hazard both, blood from them, blood begetting panic, the blood of the AIDS crisis, the dread invisible specter preying on the edges, closing the bath houses and haunting the blood banks,  a nightmare, blood a commodity and curse, the mark of Cain and the gift of vigor, forever pouring into Fake's pool, which must be deep, deeper than the sea, to never jump its cold, slick sides, leaving not so much as a patina as its waves lap and stop with a clinical precision, and one stares into the sanguineous abyss, is presented—with disconcerting pulchritude—the horrors of a not-so-distant past, a spiritual kind of hemorrhagic shock. –  B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Edie Fake | The Blood Bank, 2015, ink and gouache on paper, 22 x 30 inches. Photo courtesy of Western Exhibitions

Listed under: Review

June 19, 2015, 8:55am

Art Paul: Kill The Rabbit

Good God!, did it ever fucking multiply; springing forth from the singular mind of the cartilage-crushingly on-the-nose-named Art Paul, who needed a mascot-cum-logo for this eccentric's girly mag, a product, like Paul himself, of the Hog Butcher of the World—when that Lake Michigan wind blows, it blows, baby!—and ended up with an icon, an honest-to-goodness American deity, a long-eared, bow tied rabbit, a lapin a la mode who kept cocked ear bent towards what is comme il faut for the jet age gentleman, who is to sex and a certain cigar-smoke cured, bourbon-splashed, wood-paneled, velvet-touched kind of groomed wolf masculinity what the spider or coyote or raven is to chicanery, arguably the most famous bunny in the world—and here his hare straitens its bow tie, takes a pull off the tumbler, and exhales, in a cloud of fine, fine tobacco smoke, “Not much, doc; what's up with you?”—and an image that would have to be included in any kind of even semi-holistic and honest pastiche of American popular culture, the Playboy bunny!

It has been manifested in a million different inks and mediums, from gloss magazine stock to newsprint to flesh, rendered in rhinestones and sequins and neon tubes, in white and black and pink and a veritable zoo of animal print, looking dapper both soft-core and hard-core, on hats, shirts, sweaters, swizzle sticks, and thongs, across an entire sea foaming with licensing and corporate fornication, hopping—if one can excuse the turn—from one bedfellow to the next like, like … like a goddamn rabbit, one supposes, achieving that absolutely most rare and august of atmospheres wherein a piece of visual art can be both of the commercial sphere—bathing, in filthy lucre and public adoration, for immortality like Báthory—and above it; that bowtied cottontail created a cuniculus to very empyrean itself, and the bunny's enormous brood is both Paul's lasting impact—unfair or not—and lasting curse. – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Art Paul | Cheers, 1987, colored pencil on paper, 8 x 11.5 inches. Photo courtesy of UIMA

Listed under: Review

April 06, 2015, 10:13am

John Sabraw: Pulchritude from Pollution

There's these streams, these, like … death streams, running all along the hollers and open wounds and scars and deep, dark hills of southeastern Ohio, like in Athens county or Crooksville, Sunday Creek country, these fucking chameleon streams, born crystal virgin pure—a hideous faux-virginity! pure fatality, no other kind of purity suspended in there!—and eventually, running along like Leiningen's ants or pyroclastic flows or Kali, in that dread, beautiful motion, which sweeps life away, they eventually begin blooming into this fabulous reddish-orange, the color of rafflesia petals, and running along with nothing but gravity and iron and sulfuric acid in it, no aquatic life at all. This ichor flows all along the hills, perfectly beautiful and perfectly deadly, a conflation of the earth and the vicious byproducts we left when we entered the earth, gross seeping wounds we didn't bother to cauterize or seal properly when they stopped sustaining us, when the black precious coal could no longer be found, when blood from a stone no longer made economic sense, and after we left the earth cut open, vivisected and scooped out, it sat still and decided to slowly poison us, poison the fish and crawdads and deer, in vengeful retribution. – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


John Sabraw | Arco, 2015, oil on canvas, 96 x 62 inches, Photos courtesy of Thomas McCormick Gallery

Listed under: Review

March 17, 2015, 12:13pm

Death Rattle: Philip von Zweck

It's the end of the world, Ragnarok, the apocalypse, and it's coming … well, erratically, in fits and bursts, dives, dips, Archimedean spiraling and humming all the while, fitfully humming, aggravated and unabated, zzzzzzzz the score to the very end, death born upon a cello string … death!, thousand eyed, six-legged, sword-endowed, floccose sickly-sweet smelling death in the personage of a honey bee, listing to one side like the Costa Concordia, vascular window pane wings over its corpse like a widow's umbrella, the victim of colony collapse disorder, laid low by a syndrome we do not understand, a fatal flaw in its system—maybe some sort of inherent vice?—or something wrought by our own machinations, with the little fellow ending up dead regardless; the flowers and crops and agrarian economies wilt, and the apocalypse comes banded black and yellow, apian entropy. – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Philip von Zweck | Dead Bee, 2015, acrylic and oil on canvas, 9x 11 inches. Photo courtesy of Michelle Harris

Listed under: Review

February 26, 2015, 7:39am

Joy of Flighty: Rebecca Shore at Corbett vs Dempsey

Now here is a piece of art with a burlesque sensibility: Rebecca Shore's 20, whose Cambridge blue undercarriage, gartered in a lascivious claret, is thrust out to the viewer in come-hither sharp angles with a celerity that implies confidence and a bit of coquettish teasing rather than desperation—note that this brazen display of usually subdued dimensions will not be readily apparent if one comes up off the stairs into Corbett vs Dempsey running along the wall whisker-bound like a house mouse; abstract art favors the brave—and invites the viewer up its ascending staircase—a second set of stairs!—into an exhibition comprised of familiar motifs and vibes and colors and sensations predominantly sans any mimetic analog, which, yes, abstract art is meant to do, albeit not always so adroitly. – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Rebecca Shore | 20, 2014, acrylic on linen on panel, 14 x 16 inches. Photo by Tom Van Eynde, courtesy of the artist and Corbett vs. Dempsey

Listed under: Review

February 04, 2015, 11:09am

Insert Here

Ugh, fuck, can you … can you feel that? That!, right there, that sensation in the auditory canal, the Eustachian tube, curving down along the jaw line, there is something in there … psychosomatic, right? A slight pressure, a loss of hearing—like water in your ear, or an underground platform right before the train arrives—which compresses and builds, and something is most definitely working its way inside, inside where it does not belong. The moth. Ugh, the moth! Wings folded flat, branched rachni of the antenna slicked back, its whole furry body, so stupidly erratic in flight, now looking determined, sinister, a penetrative medical instrument leaving scale-flecked cerumen in its wake … it could unfurl that proboscis and touch tympanic membrane, could keep forever crawling forward and assault the fleshy nautilus of the cochlea, could cause such unthinkable damage, right?, this harmless little moth, by virtue of its position, by its complete and utter disregard for our great corporeal agreement with the world, namely that we—our precious selves, our physical selves, our prosopopoeia with which we acquire tactile knowledge of existence and so satisfyingly, concretely exert ourselves upon it—is entered into only through our consent. To find one's self—literally, one's very self—entered in any other way, to be invaded, is just … wrong. – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Vesna Jovanovic | Moth, 2013, ink and graphite on polypropylene, 80 x 60 inches. 
Photo courtesy of the artist and Packer Schopf Gallery.

Listed under: Review

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