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Review: Buttress, Buttress/Mini Dutch Gallery

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Curated by Britton Bertran, “Buttress, Buttress” uses the idea of the buttress—as architectural support, decorative prop or defense mechanism—to explore four artists’ relationship to site-specific practice within a gallery setting explicitly devoted to this approach. Jessica Paulson’s and Rebecca Ward’s installations provide the most obvious examples of “buttressing” via works that limn the contours of Mini Dutch as both an architectural and conceptual space for the play of ideas. Paulson’s geometric arrangement of drywall, wood and black tape is affixed to a corner wall bridging the entry hall, gallery proper and gallery director Lucia Fabio’s living room. Ward places strips of red tape across the ceiling and over the front windows like billowing curtains. Set against the blue and green film she’s taped over the glass, it becomes a theatrically illuminated three-dimensional drawing.

Three abstract paintings by Aline Cautis are arranged against the opposite wall. Painted a pale yellow by the artist, the wall provides a contrasting ground for her paintings’ moody, iridescent palettes while also extending the field of painting into architecture and vice-versa. Denise Kupferschmidt uses book pages and photographs to reference idiosyncratic spiritual mythologies. In two side-by-side collages, images of sunshine, ocean, seashells and sand are stacked totem-like in the shape of upright surfboards. Kupferschmidt’s inclusion provides a welcome “spinner” to Bertran’s otherwise straightforwardly elucidated themes by positing the buttress in ideational terms: as provisional suppositions that artists may temporarily lean up against for fresh perspective, like surfboards planted in the sand, or the walls of Mini Dutch itself. (Claudine Isé)

Through March 8 at Mini Dutch, 3111 W. Diversey

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