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Review: R&D/Manifold

Ravenswood, Sculpture Add comments

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The inaugural exhibition at Manifold, “R&D,” or Research & Development, attempts to interpret a term most frequently associated with biotech companies. Housed adjacent to their metal furniture and accessories industrial design shop, it is a logical juxtaposition for the owners to stage an exhibition of work that speaks to the often methodical, research-oriented process of creation. In artistic terms, R&D involves a systematic process in which research is undertaken to expand on and reinterpret unique applications of creation from a technical, stylistic, and intellectual standpoint.

The enormous tapestry piece by Mike Andrews, titled “Let It,” is an amazing conglomeration of colorful yarn. Cascading skeins of bright colors form a yarn waterfall of sorts and it is tempting to inspect this closely to see how it is pieced together technically. The tapestry packs a punch, working on a purely visual level, as well as effectively fulfilling the R&D premise by simultaneously referencing and usurping the traditional connotation of yarn as a hobby medium.

At first glance the three simple doorstops placed on three pedestals appear like the common variety found at the local hardware shop, but they are trompe l’oeil objects precisely recreated in three different beautiful materials. The first doorstop is carved from Carrara marble, the second from Wenge wood, and the third molded in porcelain. Their makers, an anonymous artist collective called Thornberry, are a self-proclaimed “company” dedicated to producing the world’s finest doorstops. These are subtle hints and homages to Duchamp—perhaps his “Three Standard Stoppages”—and friends in The Société Anonyme, or Anonymous Society. I look forward to seeing how, and if, Thornberry will continue to operate. (Betsy Van Die)

Through May 26 at Manifold, 4426 North Ravenswood

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