Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sixty Inches From the Center Review

Having just opened in June, the bright lights and white walls of Hinge Gallery were welcoming against the coming cold on the night of November 5th. A lovely space in an ideal location among the bustle of Chicago and Damen, Hinge Gallery opened its doors for a dual artist exhibit featuring recent paintings by Cole Pierce and prints by Rusty Shackleford.

The works that greet you as you walk through the door of Hinge are two paintings by Pierce, titled “Triangle is the Strongest Shape #10” and “Triangle is the Strongest Shape #11”. The paintings are dizzying patterns made of triangles, as geometric grids that deviate in some sections. This gestures to the rigid grid interrupted by the hand-made process of art-making.

Pierce and Shackleford have known each other for a time, having been a part of an artists’ collective in years past. Although stylistically their artworks seem on opposite ends of the spectrum, the works juxtaposed made for an engaging exhibit.

When I spoke to Pierce about these works, he told me that his intention was to keep the triangle patterns as straight and as perfect as possible but as he created these works, it become about idiosyncrasies in the shape – letting imperfections happen. The paintings started as black and white paintings, but Pierce added a new perspective with color as the series went on. The paintings displayed at Hinge have gradients of color, with the patterned triangles fading from light cream to white in one painting and blue to darkest blue in the other.

Shackleford’s pieces in the exhibit are prints that utilize the relationship of gesture and found images, with the series titled Sweet Bones and Clean Secrets. Shackleford told me his process included dumpster diving for inspiration, using found objects to emote a nostalgic vibe. Tiny photographs of nature landscapes were painted, drawn, and marked upon, then blown up to become plexi-glassed prints.

Shackelford spoke of his processes and intention as concerning directed ambiguity- pushing an image into flat space and speaking to the relationship of what framing is about. The result was on full display in the works at Hinge, with pieces of nature prints paired with broken glass, cinderblocks, and neon paints. The consistency of color influences comes from within the prints, as Shackleford emphasized the importance of the presentation by painting the walls so as to create a full installation.

I was lucky enough to have to opportunity to speak to both artists during the opening, and them being friends made the discussion all the more enjoyable. They each were very different in their approach to art and speaking about their art, but the variance between the artworks held balance within the Hinge Gallery.

- Amanda Mead

Sixty Inches From the Center