from the series Talking with Fear about Dying Tomorrow
© Matt AustinEveryday Always Trying is largely focused on the artists' visual approach as makers: frequently utilizing a quick impulsive reaction to photographic possibilities, their images echo a certain vernacular snapshot aesthetic that reinforces their often highly intimate attachments to the surroundings/characters that form the content in much of their works. Eschewing a more calculated or preconceived visual methodology, they instead rely more on spontaneity and intuition to capture fleeting scenes that provoke further contemplation about the world around them -- be it Austin's documentation of seemingly insignificant gestures as our attempts at communication, Doherty's loose compositions and wanderings inspired by street photography, Geeting's improvisational arrangements based on boredom and middle class luxuries, or Scheidemann's assemblages and investigations of benign personal objects.
from the series Leaky Faucet Metronome
© David Brandon GeetingIn addition to framed prints on the wall, the exhibition will also include a running slideshow of additional images by each photographer as well as a free takeaway newsprint featuring interviews with the four artists by Sixty Inches From Center.
The Coat Check is a new photographic space and curatorial project by Matthew Avignone and David Weinberg Photography, and will focus on showcasing young emerging artists. Keep an eye on this crew!
Everyday Always Trying
photographs by Matt Austin, Bobby Doherty, David Brandon Geeting, and Bobby Scheidemann
opening Friday 2 November, 5-8:30pm
The Coat Check (at David Weinberg Photography)
300 W. Superior St., ste. 203, Chicago
Also on Friday nite and right down the street in River North, Schneider Gallery will be opening a retrospective of the works of Luis Gonzalez Palma, highlighting vintage material from the past 20 years of the Latin American artist's practice.
© Luis Gonzalez PalmaOriginally trained as an architect and later a cinematographer, Gonzalez Palma's lush photographic efforts have become widely revered for the poetically psychological and metaphorical imagery he creates, incorporating his own handmade painterly techniques with toners, varnishes and other sources to manipulate the print surface (often taking advantage of the unique attributes of watercolor paper).
La invencion del mito (The invention of myth)
© Luis Gonzalez Palma
Luis Gonzalez Palma retrospective
opening Friday 2 November, 5-7:30pm
230 W. Superior St., Chicago
Returning to ideas of the everyday, banal, vernacular, etc., artist Ian Whitmore tackles similar notions in his solo show titled Nowhere, opening this Saturday nite at Johalla Projects. Whitmore trains his camera on details of the predictable and featureless built environment that continues to gluttonously devour more and more of our civic landscape, and asks questions about the usefulness, aesthetic worth, and overall psychological impact of these man-made constructions -- further imploring a discussion on how our asphalted aspirations and big-boxed braggadocio fit into an evolving definition of "progress" (especially when framed in terms of sustainability).
Nowhere #14307, 2010
© Ian WhitmoreWhitmore's photographs in Nowhere seem decidedly patient and slowed-down (especially compared to the from-the-hip feel of the artists in the Everyday Always Trying show mentioned above), as though he took a meticulous, careful analysis of his scenes as he photographed, and as such asks the viewer to do the same. Indeed, part of the act of seeing these landscapes (both as artist and audience) is the heightened recognition that these are otherwise commonplace and non-descript scenes surrounding us constantly, thus exaggerating the conflation between notions of "everywhere" and "nowhere".
I'm particularly intrigued by that concept of "nowhere-ness", and curious to see it appearing very frequently in discussions on suburban sprawl and the corporate homogenization of our contemporary American landscape -- as the arching title of Jeff Brouws' photographic exploration on the topic in Approaching Nowhere, or repeated in the hilariously acerbic rantings of notorious sprawl hater James Howard Kunstler and his book The Geography of Nowhere (a definitive must-read for any students of the subject), just to name a few quick examples. In that context, Whitmore's series joins some good company in agonizing over our increasingly ambiguous and disoriented (or entirely lost altogether) sense of place/location in the modern age.
Nowhere #9904, 2009
© Ian WhitmoreIn addition to his photographs at Johalla Projects, the gallery will also be presenting some of Whitmore's artist books from his massive 26-part series Onomasticon: A Vocabulary for Nowhere, which explores neglection and abstraction through landscape and language. Further, a selection of the photographs from Nowhere have been recently installed as part of a public art exhibition at the Damen station on the CTA Blue Line, where they will be displayed for the next two months.
photographs and artist books by Ian Whitmore
opening Saturday 3 November, 7-11pm
1821 W. Hubbard St., ste. 209, Chicago
Last but certainly not least, in the run-up to next week's presidential election that I'm sure we're all waiting on with baited breath, I thought it appropriate to add in a suggestion to check out the show Voting With Your Pocketbook, works by Mark Wagner, that opened last week at Western Exhibitions.
Wagner is a prolific artist who often uses the US Dollar as his material -- drawing, painting, or printing on, or cutting or otherwise manipulating the bills into various collage forms. This act of subversion ultimately renders the bill down to its simplest definition: merely ink on paper (or, as The Onion once comically lampooned, "a Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion").
Mr. Handshake's Last Gasp, 2010
© Mark WagnerThe centerpiece of the exhibition is surely the portraits of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, installed side by side in a stylized voting booth, their features crafted entirely (and literally) out of money -- a fitting metaphor to describe the pathetic spectacle that currently passes for democracy in America, where in the wake of Citizens United, Super PACs and anonymous dark money funding the campaigns, one can't help but wonder if the entire election process is up for sale and next week's results just might send us over the edge into complete and utter corporatocracy. Enjoy!
installation view: Voting With Your Pocketbook at Western Exhibitions
© Mark Wagner
Voting With Your Pocketbook
works by Mark Wagner
ongoing thru 8 December
845 W. Washington Blvd., 2nd floor, Chicago