The screen-printed fabric pieces in “At your own risk” are arranged in a narrative, prompting viewers to channel the experience of submerging into a swimming pool. The titles of the work help that story along, from “You, at the edge” to “Submerging.” Hung throughout the Logan Square gallery, the paintings are meant to evoke a sense of danger in the viewer, as partly evidenced from the show’s title. The pieces never let the viewer out of the water, none of their perspectives show the line where the water breaks and the above-ground world begins. In some works, such as “The feeling of being watched,” the shadow of a looming figure can be seen on the pool’s floor.
Gold is superb at illustrating light play on the water’s surface and the way a body moving through a pool disrupts its stillness. The work here is not the Chicago-based artist’s first foray into the interiors of swimming pools. Gold, who earned an MFA at the School of the Art Institute last year, explored small pools in a screen-print-on-cotton series, and large pools in a screen-print-on-canvas series. The “Large Scale Pools” series in particular is striking; the screen prints are so rich and detailed they resemble photographs. At Comfort Station, the work is more painterly. The close-up detailed pieces seem flat and abstracted. The colors here are not quite as full, as in “The Deep End,” the blues and blue-greens look faded, as if bleached by the sun.
Although the artist hints at danger, the colors and brightness of the work seem to offer a contradiction. The pool here appears to be seen on a bright day, ideal for swimming. The cool, watered-down blues and greens evince a calming quality. Only the paintings with a shadow figure seem ominous and more open to interpretation. Amid such gloomy days as we have seen recently in the city, “At your own risk” is definitely worth a viewing. The warmth radiating from the paintings are a welcome reminder that summer isn’t just a faint memory. (Kerry Cardoza)
Through April 24 at Comfort Station, 2579 North Milwaukee.