I didn't really want to write an ArtLetter this week. My prerequisite is that I've got at least three openings I want to write about. And this week I only found two. But one was so strong I'm here at my keyboard to tell you about it.
Sarah Krepp's exhibition at Roy Boyd Gallery is the 3rd show by a seasoned Chicago artist that has moved me in the past couple of months. The first impression I have of Krepp's work is the massive amount of labor she brings to her canvasses. David Hockney wrote many years ago about time: how long an artist spends making a piece is directly related to how long a viewer spends with it. Shredded car tires play a significant role in her work, adding a strong 3-dimensional element which balances the multiple cuts she makes into most paintings. Yes, the art moves forward and back from the painted surface, which by the way is painted after she has spent an obsessive amount of time sewing tire parts, text, game pieces and symbols into place. The art exists on many levels and so does its meaning, dealing with sensory perception as indicated by the exhibition title: Blind Sight, which is how people, blind included, can sense objects in their physical space without using their eyes. Loaded with content the work addresses cacophony, decipherable or indecipherable esoteric forms - depending on our familiarity with scientific charts, eye tests, wind patterns and dance steps. Keep looking; more will reveal itself momentarily. I see a gestalt that suggests Krepp's art is a parable for life, how we are composite individuals, with multiple relationships and affinities, yet on the surface we all look pretty normal. Sarah Krepp's new show is impressive.
The other show I enjoyed is at a small new gallery at 1513 N. Western Avenue named FR Works on Paper which opens Saturday night. FR stands for Frank and Robert, who have been collecting works on paper for decades and are now editing their collection significantly. There are some works, either on view, or in print drawers that are over 200 years old and there are pieces that aren't very old at all. Some of the works have known artists - many do not. And the pieces are invariably very inexpensive. This is a fabulous resource for people who want antique works on paper at prices cheaper than the frames this art is likely to go in.
I was surprised to learn that Susan Aurenko is closing her Flatfile Galleries. She has represented a lot of photographers and has been very supportive of local sculptors and numerous Chicago artists. This is what happens in our compromised economy. To the extent we can, we need to support our local galleries or we aren't going to have as many.
Looks like a good weekend; there's art to see,