In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” Alice explains in a world of her making, “Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.” Rachel Beach has constructed such a world with her thirteen works in the exhibition “Rachel Beach: Rabbit Hole,” the title a reference to Carroll’s “Wonderland.” In this current exhibition, Beach combines and synthesizes art forms that were largely separate in her previous work. The juxtaposition of placing a painting and a sculpture in conversation with each other in earlier works titled “Pairs” now merge into a singular form in “Rabbit Hole” that is neither fully sculpture, nor fully painting. Extending between two-to-six inches from the wall, the interplay of light on the negative space, the perception of depth created at times by an almost modernized intarsia—juxtaposing light and dark woods to suggest spatial depth—and the minimal use of rich paint to accent or further the illusion heightens the tension between the effects of surface illusion and the actual and physical three-dimensional forms in space. Beach successfully plays with the viewer’s perception of spatial relationships, depth, illusionism and the traditional roles of specific media to make a new type of art form, like Frank Stella had with his shaped canvases, that both is and isn’t what it seems. (Kate Tierney Powell)
Through Feb 16 at Kasia Kay Art Projects Gallery, 1044 W. Fulton Market, (312)492-8828.