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Review: John Delk/Thomas Robertello Gallery

Multimedia, West Loop Add comments


John Delk’s work documents a specific project of accumulation and erasure that often relies on information gathered from various communications: headlines, newspaper photos, internet message boards, and binary code. In his art, he reworks these materials in ways that tend to collapse the original intentions of the textual or photographic artifact and instill in them something of the missing aura of mechanical reproduction. “Crier” is a chalkboard that is daily erased and reinscribed with posts Delk finds on the internet on specific subjects chosen for the piece. Each day, a new illegible pattern emerges, invoking Twombly to mask the internet’s massive accretion of knowledge and hearsay. “Stream” follows the same pattern, consisting of a twenty-inch hanging scroll hand-typed with run-together headlines from the last five years. It is a formal poem of sorts that records the traces of global events while rejecting their unified, narrative meaning. Other objects in the exhibition act as artifacts, such as “Fragment,” a laser-etched horse jaw presented in a plexi-fronted wooden case.  Even this piece comes with a certain amount of mystery and it is this deliberate inscrutability that marks the objecthood of Delk’s conceptually driven art. (Rachel Furnari)

Through December 5 at Thomas Robertello Gallery, 939 W. Randolph.

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