Gallery Y: Brenda Moore“Between Tragedy and Frivolity”
Gallery X: David Reninger “Animal Tales”
September 7 – October 20, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, September 7, 2012, 6-9pm
Linda Warren Projects proudly kicks off the fall art season with the solo exhibitions of two noteworthy Chicago-based artists, Brenda Moore and David Reninger, who celebrate the imagination by transposing the animal figures of their empathy into allegorical forms of visual poetry. Like fables or fairytales full of fantasy and folly, their anthropomorphized animals are quite deceptive – like wolves wrapped in sheep’s clothing.
On display in Gallery Y, “Between Tragedy and Frivolity” marks Brenda Moore’s second solo exhibition in the gallery and presents itself like Act II to “Horse in the Bedroom,” her first solo exhibition in the gallery in 2006. It was then that Moore set to convey through a range of materials — including an onsite installation of her childhood bedroom– her unrequited love for horses. Since then, Moore’s connection and deepening affection for the equine species has become evermore developed, specifically in a very real kinship with a horse named Scootch, who appears center stage throughout the exhibit. This beloved animal has been Moore’s anchor and artistic Muse, a symbol of heroic strength and beauty, freedom and stability, and like her artistic practice, a powerful means of escape – a living elixir to restore life and heal from the loss of her father and aunt. While Moore’s art is intensely personal, it is also widely relevant and dependent on universal themes that speak to emptiness and loss, determination and recovery, invention and experimentation, history,memory and the power of dreaming. In the spirit of an anything-goes rococo frivolity, Moore dissolves and integrates notions of history and time, intermixing real and fictitious characters from the past and present. Overt references are made to myriad sources of inspiration, including Tiepolo’s oil sketch modellos, Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando” and William Butler Yeats’ poem, “A Crazed Girl.” Moore pays homage to these many brilliant artists, but none are more meaningful and impactful than her beloved father – the literary professor, writer, model ship maker whose presence permeates the entire show.
Distilled through the delightfully rich and colorful oil paintings of David Reninger’s “Animal Tales” in Gallery X is the inspiring history of many art movements: the wild vitality of abstraction colliding with the ironic imagery of pop art, and stabilized with the solidity of realism. In his first solo exhibition at the gallery, Reninger, like Moore, embraces randomness while exercising obvious control over his decisions. Innocent animal figurines isolated inside of comic bubbles are combined in quixotic combinations, such as bear, hamster and bird or panda, frog, and bunny alluding to communication, suggesting stories obtuse and metaphoric that speak to the human condition. Within each painted line, pattern, texture and rhythm is meaning; whether it be the language of painting, or the language of computer science, biology or anthropology, Reninger’s work first attracts, then stimulates and provokes, thus surviving and thriving in the animal kingdom of the art world.
Chicago-based artist Brenda Moore’s intimate, detailed and symbolic works can be found in private and corporate collections nationwide including Wellington Management, Harris Bank and Kirkland & Ellis, amongst others. She received her MFA in 2001 from American University in Washington DC, where she was also presented with the Audrey Lavine Glassman Award. Moore’s work has been exhibited widely throughout the US for over two decades including venues such as Elizabeth Roberts Gallery and Watkins Gallery in Washington DC. Moore has been a full-time art teacher at The Chicago Academy for the Arts since 2003.
David Reninger is a Chicago-based painter and educator whose bold, everevolving practice has been featured in venues throughout Chicago and the Midwest including the Ukrainian Museum of Modern Art, the Illinois Institute of Art, the Fort Wayne Museum and the Hyde Park Art Center amongst many others. Reninger has held teaching positions at Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois, and has been a full-time elementary school art teacher at District 99 in Cicero since 2001. Reninger received his MFA from the University of Illinois in 1991.