This May, the Evanston Art Center will end its forty-eight year residence at the former Harley Clarke mansion and move into a newly renovated space one mile away. For the final exhibition within its historic location that blossoms with organic design and motifs, the center has selected three artists whose practices are deeply rooted in the natural world: Noelle Allen, Jennifer Yorke and Robert Porazinski.
Allen’s large-scale resin sculptures line the foyer’s walls and lead viewers into the center gallery. Corporal in size, thin in stature and graceful in stance, two freestanding sculptures stretch upwards into a delicate leaning balance. Along the walls hang additional pieces that mimic the aforesaid works’ slim build, but assume contrastive postures as they coil, hang and droop about the space like plants searching for sunlight and yearning for water. Pastel colors softly blend into one another, granting dimension and movement to the tranquil works—through the varying poses and colors, we witness nature’s cyclical growth, deterioration and rebirth.
Next door, white frames contain Yorke’s collages in a reserved manner that contrasts the adventurous scale of Allen’s sculptures. Intricate cutouts from glossy magazine pages have been pieced together to form compositions built from colorful imagery often seen in commercial advertisements and fashion tabloids. As pictures of fluttering ribbons, fabrics and graceful flower petals merge with folded shavings of raw meat and crusted crab claws, Yorke’s collages poke fun at the superficial facades society places over our bodily functions and natural imperfections. Floating atop flat beige backgrounds, the cutouts form fleshly bouquets that unabashedly detail our natural desires, blemishes and secretions.
In the opposing gallery, Porazinski’s paintings offer a synthesis between Yorke’s bold collages and Allen’s sentient sculptures. Angular lines intersect organic forms to create grid-like compositions that exalt nature’s consistency and narrate man’s craving to control it. By painting directly onto his birch panels, Porazinski allows paint to sink in and naked grain to stand out—an intentional exposition of nature’s beauty, the bare wood surrounded by Porazinski’s acrylic paint stands as a tribute of the three artists’ efforts to narrate, expose and understand. (Maria Girgenti)
Through April 26 at the Evanston Art Center, 2603 Sheridan Road, Evanston