Some paintings beg for a close read– densely layered or rendered in fine detail by a 000 brush. A fetishistic meticulousness. An intimacy of material.
We have seen a turn toward figuration across media, whether employed as a formal structure or to address the politics of bodies. An intimacy of subject.
There is a precedent of both such intimacies (while adding dashes of irreverent abstraction and wit) in the works of Chicago painters such as Barbara Rossi, Miyoko Ito, Jim Lutes, and Christina Ramberg.
In the submission review for our Spring 2017 season, we identified an inclination for rendering bodies (or suggestions of) with intricately crafted surfaces. “Close to Me” is a snapshot of these tendencies, presenting five artists that work primarily in painting (and wall hanging sculpture):
Mel Cook’s slippery, awkward male figures are trapped in the universe of their own tighty whiteys. Em Kettner’s fragmented totems jive across the wall. The mundane, yet tempestuous characters in Celeste Rapone’s narratives contort to the confines of the picture plane. Allison Reimus’ canvases give us macro views of patterns that conflate the domestic and cryptic, table cloths or shrouds? And the windows into Ryan Richey’s everyday scenes reveal cheeky psychology with each closer read.