Mika Horibuchi and Dan Rizzo-Orr worked closely to present “View with a Room” as a project specific to the gallery space. The mostly painted work of the two artists interlocks with ease across two rooms despite wildly various subject matter and technical methods. Visual approaches reflect neatly onto three-dimensional objects, the sculptures orienting the space in turn.
Horibuchi’s “Screen/Screen,” trompe l’oeil venetian blinds facing outwards from either side of a walnut box, inhabits one corner. The vibrating edges coldly lock the eye onto the surface, revealing nothing of the void between the canvases. Eponymously oriented behind are Rizzo-Orr’s “Horse Statuette North” and “Horse Statuette Northeast,” mirrored mounts enlarged from their former decorative stature. The horse profiles are divided into draped strips, their contours supported by misaligned patterns of black and yellow.
Painting as a view beyond the wall is here rudely negated. Many of the works activate physical zones in between. Horibuchi’s “Reflective Rug” echoes nearby arch paintings, and Rizzo-Orr’s “Hornets Before” and “Hornets After”—painted animation cels standing upright, create distance from what was virtual. When depth is granted on the canvas it’s the private glimpse of limbs and lips inhabiting Rizzo-Orr’s night interiors. The viewer is an accused voyeur, retreating to contend with unaccommodating physical emissaries of the domestic sphere: Horibuchi’s “Seated Tiger,” an inverted chair frame upholstered with a warped image of the animal’s pelt as well as her “Description of a Weaving,” in which rubber strips painted as woven textiles are stretched over a leaning frame.
Rizzo-Orr’s inkjet on panel “By the Sea” crops Hopper’s “Rooms by the Sea” so two enlarged portions of the painting remain; gallery wall left between a pleasant room on one side, ocean on the other. Both Horibuchi’s “Arch for Heaven” and Rizzo-Orr’s “To Retrace Your Traps” reproduce the gallery’s coffered ceiling, stamping the rooms interior onto the would-be portal of the former and the latter’s designed tiles. Unwilling to simply decorate a room these works vie for agency within our interiors, positing painting to be more than a view into canvas as surfaces invade, inhabiting real living space. (Nick Nes Knowlton)
Through May 3 at Heaven Gallery, 1550 North Milwaukee.