Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Linda Warren Projects

Ed Valentine’s exhibition “Someone’s Beauty” is currently presented alongside Michael Stillion’s show, “B.Z&C: Bent, Zigzag and Crooked” at the Linda Warren Projects in the West Loop Neighborhood of Chicago. Both collections encourage the viewer to consider portraiture in new and ambitious ways. Stillion for example, inquires about how fabric contributes to identity by using oil on canvas to depict layers of clothing that completely envelope the wearer. Each of the fabrics are painted with lively colors which juxtapose their serene neutral backgrounds. Stillion favors hues of blue and orange and incorporates them into nearly every piece. By portraying mundane articles of clothing with such vibrancy, Stillion is successful in his endeavor to illustrate portraiture without painting the figure, instead allowing the objects to speak for themselves as the subjects.  Valentine’s work, on the other hand can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Unlike Stillion, Valentine does not make his artistic agenda clear. Valentine’s pieces depict abstract graffiti style designs created with aerosol spray paint in contrast with realistic eyes using oil paint. While most of the images were done on large scale canvas of approximately 96”x60” Valentine also included a collection of smaller portraits of 18”x24” using a variety of painterly aesthetics such as drips, clean architectural lines and scraping off the paint. Although the pieces of larger scale has less conclusive subject matters, I felt that these works overlapped with Stillion's exhibition as they allowed me to continuously interpret the definition of “a portrait”. 

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