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Review: Cameron Crawford and John Almanza/New Capital

Garfield Park, Painting, Sculpture Add comments

Cameron Crawford, from "Sick Sic Six Sic ((Not) Moving)"

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Renaissance scholar and mystic Nicholas of Cusa said of divine truth: “I experience how necessary it is for me to enter into the cloud…and to seek there the truth where impossibility confronts me.” An elegant failure to achieve perfection shines through in the pale, porous works of Cameron Crawford and John Almanza, now on display at New Capital, a new warehouse project space. In the upstairs gallery, Almanza’s Ryman-ish monochrome canvases feature a black ground scrubbed and dabbed into a ghostly haze, on top of which white paint is dragged across in near-parallel diagonal strips. The total effect is of textured fields of strobing static viewed through decomposing blinds. Crawford’s installation downstairs is a labor-intensive world of abstracted forms, similarly arrayed in shades of gray, silver and white. Hanging nets are formed from monofilament and silicon smeared with eye-shadow; an art-deco architectural miniature made from chunks of concrete is adorned with fresh white carnations; more painted concrete slabs form a miniature house façade, and yet more depict the unmistakable silhouette of men’s briefs (which, Crawford insists, represent seagulls); stitched white fabric forms piles of folded shrouds; a quasi-deco painted concrete slab table, sitting at a slight tilt, bears a selection of bricks of oven-bake clay, removed from the wrapping and baked without alteration. Appearing as fragile leftovers shot through with empty slots, Crawford and Almanza’s creations dimly illuminate a decaying geometry beneath the faux-organic veneer of virtual culture. The works will be on display through the end of January. A closing celebration will include a serene video meditation on swimming by Israeli artist Maya Pik, and a contemplative performance by local sound artist Noe Cuellar. (Bert Stabler)

At New Capital, 3114 West Carroll, through January 29.

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