In this weekly column, art critic Lori Waxman adapts her 60wrd/min project to review work by artists whose practice has been affected by the pandemic. Waxman covers shows that have been cancelled, postponed, shuttered, made remote or opened by limited appointment, as well as art made during quarantine. Reviews are written in the order in which requests are received. This iteration of 60wrd/min is a democratic, good-faith effort to document more of the art making that is happening at a time when much of it is relatively unobserved.
What’s an apartment gallery? It can be anything from a miniature white cube to a curated bathroom, but it is always also someone’s living space. Chicago has loads of them, including Fluffy Crimes, the Lincoln Park condo of Marc Benja, who recently installed his fourth group show in as welcoming, eclectic and jam-packed a way as did his first three. Among the items crowded together on the coffee table are stacks of Sean Mac’s mini-comics, gorgeously scrawled artist books by Teresita Carson-Valdez, Sam Hensley’s endearingly creepy animated soft sculpture of a duck, lots of potted plants, and a lustrously elegant vase by Peter Ronan. Arranged on one wall, salon-style, are two sexy weavings by Melissa Dadourian, a pair of deco paper collages by Marina Timm, a touchable and mysterious painting by Kristin Romberg, homoerotic centaur drawings by Francisco Zarate and much more. It’s like the best kind of artsy house party (though, due to pandemic necessities, without all the human guests).
—2021-03-30 3:19 PM
The triptych is a useful format for signaling the highest of valuations. Why save it just for the symbols of Christianity? In her “Cathedral” series, begun in 2019, Marin County painter April Dawn Parker uses it to worship the original deity: nature. In Parker’s version, full of funky mushrooms, thick straight Redwoods, neon sunsets, dusty rose deserts and giant crystals, the West Coast is Eden. And with a style that rocks a decidedly 1970s paint-by-number vibe, the region provides both content and form. Parker’s most recent of her three-foot-tall, six-foot-wide trios, “The Candle Being Lit,” was left unattended for three months while the pandemic locked her out of her studio. But nature persists, regardless, as does art. That’s an altar we all ought to be praying at, and hard.
—Lori Waxman 2021-03-31 7:12 PM