Corbett vs. Dempsey
February 25, 2018, 8:45am
God, let's just start with a list, right?, and if it seems a bit daunting, just imagine poor fucking Linnaeus, setting forth to categorize sundry and all living things, whereas this is but a brief run-down and accounting for of some of the shapes-a sampling of the vast geographic ecosystem-of Magalie Guérin's (NAP #119) worlds, shapes anatomical/biological-flesh-colored trash bags, barred teeth, raw nails, conch snail shells-shapes mechanical-vintage car grills and taillights and doors and bench seats, mid-century modern chairs, shafts of lamp light from a noir gumshoe's desk, perfume bottles, awl handles, backsplash tiles, famished walls with studs showing, the glowing jukebox flanks of a sci-fi set, the curled remnants of a high school art class pastel set's cover paper, the ribs of rent cardboard-all nestled up amongst each other in the cool colors of pallid death or the never-living, enamel and sclera and cream and subcutaneous fat, contractor wall color and brutalist concrete and refrigerator light … and the paintings are none of those things, not really; well, they are all of those things, but only to me, on a Sunday morning in February, aided/impeded by time, distance, memory, an exercise in form until the very end … - B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor
Magalie Guérin | Untitled, 2017. Oil on canvas on panel. 20 x 16 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago.
December 28, 2016, 10:20am
Here we have presented, in a perfect circle, as if in a petri dish or memorial china plate or a porthole—which, by the way, is the vanguard of windows, the aperture we gaze at when we want to be kept safely, securely, hermetically safe from whatever is on the other end of the thin pane we slick with the heat of our faces—the kind of pleasing gridded surface, so straight!, so soothing!, so perfectly correct and uniform!, bone white squares cut by aurelian lines ostensibly lineal but in actually imperfect, bulging a bit, a bit sloppy, like a military garrison on parade—so close to perfect, but still (for now) human!—or the grout lines in your bathroom … yes!, it's a bathroom floor, encircled in the petri dish, viewed through the porthole, bathroom tiles gridded out with gold, surrounded by marble (of course!), perfect save a pox, the red of dried blood—it's the brightest color in the whole room, really, this dried-deoxygenated-but-still-too-fresh blood, each splock with its own idiosyncratic hair style, pili radiating as is from the weakest sun, clumping into constellations, gentle parabolic forms like arched eyebrows, carrying in them a sense of ad-hoc exigency, the kinetic beautiful violence requisite for their application demonstrated in their forms, an abstract take on a passage from a Bret Easton Ellis novel—The bathroom reeks of bleach and disinfectant and the floor is wet and gleaming even though the maid hasn't started cleaning in here yet; Glamorama, pg. 256—a form of silent violence, an echo of a moment captured in all of its chaos atop a bone white grid, gleaming with gold, surrounded by marble, a porthole into God's own bathroom…- B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor
February 26, 2015, 7:39am
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
November 17, 2013, 6:23pm
The image of the female nude is arguably the closest thing the subject of painting has to a readymade. The recent exhibition on view in the West Wing at Corbett vs. Dempsey by Jonathan Gardner, Nudes, consists of just three paintings installed in the corner of the main space, otherwise occupied by an exhibition of Konrad Klapheck’s charcoal drawings. The images recall twentieth century favorites – namely Picabia, with hints of Magritte and Balthus, currently featured in a similarly titled exhibition Cats and Girls, on view at the Met. In each of the three images, Gardner sets up simple parameters that allow for an immediate read, but not a simple one. In an off-the-cuff throwback to an antiquated genre, it appears that the approach of artist as stylist, or rather painter as the painter of styles, presents surprisingly interesting challenge for Gardner. Of course the depiction is nothing new – we’ve seen a million of paintings on the subject – but these three hold strong. Undiluted by any satirical content, the paintings are direct, yet comic and complex; for this reason they are different. Walking a fine line between representation of a subject, and representation of a style, the three tableaus are not quite sexualized enough to be perverse, nor awkward enough to be sympathetic. Instead, the nudes represent a removed and distant caricature of painterly female representation of the teens and twenties, in particular – though sans personality, and without any symbolic content; purposefully emptied of any recognizable trait that would tie them to that context. Nude or otherwise, the figures are somehow ontological – in the sense that despite their seemingly forward appearance, they are a material that serves themselves. Just as the physicality of paint serves the formalist, the image of the girl Gardner paints is the subject of that painting. – Stephanie Cristello, Chicago Contributor
Jonathan Gardner | Nude with Lemons, 2013. Oil on linen. 40 x 46 inches. Image courtesy of Corbett vs. Dempsey.
September 17, 2013, 8:00am
Not very often does an abstract painting exhibition keep a level head – but the casual, unruffled discretion of Party Cut, a collection of new work by Rebecca Morris currently on view at Corbett vs. Dempsey, is refreshing in more ways than one. The quick, and perhaps even preparatory nature of the paintings holds a certain degree of immediacy –however, all too often, a discussion surrounding paintings like these is fixated on the idea of a formal language. Acutely focused on gesture, the use of line, the myriad of descriptives used for compositional devices, and other criteria that certainly applies to this work – strictly formal terms like these kill conversation if not applied correctly (let’s pretend that there is such a thing); which is to say, if they explain the medium, but miss the affect. Morris’ paintings avoid this pit fall. The repetitive forms and all-over fields of high-keyed color are charmingly typical of midcentury patterns and decoration; yet remain distanced from an ornamental context, at once attractive and idiosyncratic. And while I was admittedly surprised by the dry, stained surfaces of the works on canvas with their more moderate and measured treatment, and less brazen tactile qualities, it would be partial to say that those material qualities were the only ones driving away the initial Pop impression of the work. - Stephanie Cristello, Chicago Contributor