Tuesday, September 15, 2020

"Hue & Me" in Chicago


Panoramic view of my paintings at Addington Gallery, Chicago
 The exhibition is up through October 31 

It feels good to be showing again. My solo, Hue & Me, was scheduled to open at Addington Gallery in Chicago on May 1. Then you-know-what happened and we went into quarantine mode. Many exhibitions moved online. Some got installed but didn't get seen. Others got cancelled outright. Dan Addington, the gallery's owner and director, suggested we postpone the show until the beginning of the Fall season. I was cautiously optimistic, as they say in the ER, so much so that I spent a good part of the summer building crates and sending the work. On September 12 Dan opened the doors to a superbly installed show. I flew in for a masked and socially distanced afternoon opening. There was no crowding. Everyone got to see the show, and I got to visit with everyone. 

North Wells Street is in the River North gallery district. What a nice surprise to arrive at the gallery to find this banner at the front door

The front gallery, with work by Jeff Hirst, Joan Holleb, Helen Dannelly, Kathleen Waterloo

Looking into the main gallery where my show is installed

Hue & Me, my first solo exhibition with Addington Gallery (and 39th career solo) features the newest work from my Silk Road series. As the title and work suggest, color has been my longtime companion. Much of the series consists of layers of translucent paint built up into textured color fields. What's new is the division. The formal task I set for myself was to create two tonal fields, each with enough chromatic vigor to challenge the other half but conciliatory enough to mesh into one bisected painting. I never saw the horizontal as anything other than a divider--or perhaps uniter--between upper and lower.

Dan saw things a little differently. For him the dividing line functioned as a horizon. In his essay for the catalog (which you can read in full here) he writes: "I see landscape not merely because I can identify a horizon line in many of these pieces. In fact, every piece is made with horizontal brush strokes that echo this reading. It is not just because I am given a literal landscape of ridges, valleys, crevices, and strata. It is not just because I see the gradual shifts in value and tone that I witness in a sky on the cusp of change or as I stand before a great lake or ocean, engulfing my peripheral vision with a faint, hazy, transitional band where water meets sky. Color is a component of light, and this is how I understand light--in terms of the sky and the land."

With our backs to the front gallery, we start here and turn to the right . . . 

. . . pivoting to the East Wall 

Silk Road 482, 2020, 24 x 24 inches
All work encaustic on panel

Silk Road 484, 2020, 24 x 24 inches

Silk Road 483, 2020, 24 x 24 inches

Silk Road 488, 2020, 24 x 24 inches

Silk Road 480, 2020, 24 x 24 inches

A full view of the East Wall

Silk Road 498, 2020, 12 x 12 inches

Silk Road 497, 2020, 12 x 12 inches

Silk Road 489, 2020, 36 x 36 inches

We pan to the South Wall

Silk Road 485, 2020, 24 x 24 inches

An angled view of the West Wall with individual images below

Detail of Silk Road 486, 2020, 24 x 24 inches, 
the full view of which you see in the foreground above

Top row far left: Silk Road 491, 2020, 18 x 18 inches

Top row middle: Silk Road 417, 2018, 18 x 18 inches

Top row right: Silk Road 465, 2019, 18 x 18 inches

Bottom row far left: Silk Road 474, 2019, 18 x 18 inches

Bottom row middle: Silk Road 492, 2020, 18 x 18 inches

Bottom row right: Silk Road 490, 2020, 18 x 18 inches

Far left of the installation: Silk Road 487, 2020, 24 x 24 inches


 Riz 1, 2020, oil and wax on handmade Japanese paper, about 140 lb. weight, 14 x 14 inches, in its own portfolio

What you don't see on the walls of the gallery is a series of work on paper inspired by the new paintings in the exhibition. Called Riz (as in horizontal), each 14-by-14-inch sheet has its own bisected field with a striated top half and a solid-color bottom that is inflected with a soupçon of visual texture. Initiating the series was a good way to ease out of the intense effort it takes to create a solo show. Each work--I think of them as paintings on paper--has its own portfolio. If you go to the gallery, ask Dan to show them to you.

Riz 1
All work is 2020, oil and wax on handmade Japanese paper, 14 x 14 inches
Click on images to enlarge

Riz 2

Riz 3

Riz 4

Riz 5

Riz 6

Riz 7

Riz 8

Riz 9

Riz 10

. Hue & Me is at Addington Gallery, Chicago, through October 31 
. An exhibition catalog, with an essay by Dan Addington and a conversation between Hue and me, is viewable online at no cost
. The Riz portfolios are not on display but ask Dan Addington to view them
. An interview: Chicago-based artist Helen Dannelly and I sat down in a corner of the gallery for a 20-minute conversation.