Gallery Y: Joseph Noderer: Ain’t No Reason to Hang My Head
Gallery X: Nina Rizzo: Mystery Spot
Opening Reception: Friday, March 16, 2012, 6-9 pm
Show Runs Friday, March 16 – April 21, 2012
Linda Warren Projects is proud to present Joseph Noderer’s third solo exhibition in the gallery, “Ain’t No Reason to Hang my Head” – a title taken from the lyrics of the song “When You Awake”, by The Band, and an affirmation of a cautious optimism in the wake of darker days. While Noderer continues in this new body of work to excavate from the landscape of his immediate surroundings the metaphoric tools and language he relies on to express a very personal and poetic vision – the cockeyed trees, the ramshackle structures, dirt roads, wild weeds and overgrown bush and brush – it is music which has played an even greater role in defining this new body of work. Born into a lineage of family musicians, it was only recently that Noderer discovered in himself a natural proclivity and joy in playing the banjo. This newfound passion has had a palpable influence on his work. Portraits of banjo players are seen in such pieces as “Croslin Street Rag”, “Old Mother” and “Likens Sue, Mister”. While in other works, like “The Night’s Progress” and “Returner,” it’s as if the carefree sound of this instrument has freed the artist to take more liberties with his self-expression and confidently expose more raw emotion.
Whether overtly self-portraits or not, Noderer’s paintings are about himself and his life’s journey. They are dialogues of dualities, reflecting his external world filtered through the vacillating and evolving moods and emotions of his life’s inner mindscape. He has said that for him, by being more expressive, his paintings are somehow now more accurate. Often using his own photography to recall an image, or reference a color, or trigger a memory, he composes lines and forms that vary from the direct and simple to the grinded, grappled and labored. Dominating his palate are his unusual, ‘signature’ hues of green that are juxtaposed with soft pinks, bold salmons and rusty and mustardy yellows. Each piece, whether landscape-driven or portrait-driven, is a carefully constructed and considered work that is both highly improvised and greatly scrutinized. Replete with representations of darkness, sadness, loneliness, awkwardness, and sheer ugliness, they capture the paradoxical relationship between an art form and the world of reality. His work manages to convey a deeply satisfying harmony while laying bare a dissonance and complexity and balance of the subjective with the objective.
“Ain’t No Reason to Hang My Head” is a show that fulfills its titles true meaning, as it offers hope in the medium of painting as a tool for reshaping reality, and its ability to not just embrace the solemn or less perfect sides of life, but to transform them into something compellingly haunting and beautiful. It is a testament to his rare sensitivity as an artist and exceptional talent as a painter to transcend the ordinary and make epic statements about the humble and overseen.
Nina Rizzo is another exceptionally gifted painter who finds inspiration in the forms of the natural world to create monumental paintings that lavish in their painterly strength and physicality. “Mystery Spot”, Nina Rizzo’s second solo exhibition in the gallery, is a selection of new works that springboard from her own personal travels and journeys to places both near and far. From the Buckingham Fountain in Chicago to the black stone beaches of Iceland to the ancient amphitheaters of Sicily, these are just some of the places that have inspired Rizzo’s potent imagination and served as the catalyst for works that become more abstractions and reinventions than representations of a factual reality.
In “Armature for the Inside of a Snow Man’s Head” Rizzo presents a purely fictitious and playful abstract narrative suggesting not just nature’s possibilities of serving as the building blocks for other art forms, but also the activity of probing the unseen and the hidden. In “Iceberg – Dents and Divots” the illusionary qualities of her medium are expressed in her confident and gestural brushwork. Vibrant colors are contrasted with muted backgrounds to marry well the interplaying vertical and horizontal linear elements that create the spatial ambiguities and movement of melting ice. “Mystery Spot” is loaded with painting virtuoso – mark makings full of crevices, blobs, lines and forms that posit the question of “where is this?” and speak to the plasticity of painting and the fluidity of our experience of place, as transformed by time and perception.
Joseph Noderer received his BFA at Tyler School of Art in 2001 and his MFA at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago in 2006. His work can be found in many prestigious private collections throughout the country, including Kirkland and Ellis in Chicago, as well in the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. Nina Rizzo received her BFA in 1997 from the University of Illinois at Urbana -Champaign and her MFA in 2004 at The University of Texas at Austin. In 2006 she became an Assistant Professor at the School of Art at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Her work has been shown both here and abroad and can be found in several prestigious collections, including a very recent acquisition by Bank of Montreal/Harris Bank in Chicago.