Daniel Luedtke’s “Automatic Thoughts” takes up nearly an entire wall at the back of “Spine, Crack, Transfigure,” a piece appearing like a resin-coated recycling symbol with a messy composition that looks hand-drawn. The three arrows comprising the sculpture surround a circle, and contain three vibrating bullets fixed at about twelve, two and six o’clock respectively. The sex toys were depleted of their battery power by Ana Raba, Liz Rosenfeld and Joel Parsons, the absent users who enacted elements of this work. The vibratory ghosts limply hang as the expired record of the collaborators’ pleasure. They are almost hidden save for a cord dangling within the circle or “O,” a way to place a physical act into the diagram-like form.
Across the gallery floor, Luedtke also lays six groupings of objects produced in wood, polyester, cotton, foam board, resin and ink. “Cracks and Seams on Blackened Windows Brought to Your Feet Eclipsing Sky Blue,” resides atop black panels that lay directly on the floor. The grouped objects’ scattered arrangement references an absent hand—pieces one wants to attribute to a singular form, but are impossible to place back together. The unique forms of these jagged-edged shapes are elsewhere confusing translated onto more conventional canvases.
The bold lines and freehand forms of Luedtke’s cutout shapes jibe with the violent strokes of Ben Seamons’ painted works. Oil paint appears almost like crayon: scribbles read as pure abstraction until one approaches “Transfigure 7,” a cyborgian face that encourages the viewer to revisit its companion works to search them for similar representations. Skeletal qualities of a head emerge in “Transfigure 5,” cutting blue eyes appearing from the purple and pink marked chaos. The figurative aspects of Seamons’ pieces hide in plain view, existing just beyond the rugged paint strokes that lay heavily on the surface. Both artists’ works refuse to hold themselves together, their parts positioned as strong elements outside the whole—a flamboyantly hued puzzle that is only complete when all pieces are broken apart. (Kate Sierzputowski)
Through April 18 at Roots & Culture, 1034 North Milwaukee