Gallery Y:Lora Fosberg, “The End of Absurdity”
Gallery X: Emmett Kerrigan, “Nest”
December 13, 2013 – February 15, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, December 13, 2013, 6-9pm
Linda Warren Projects is honored to ring in the winter season with two solo exhibitions: Lora Fosberg’s “The End of Absurdity” in Gallery Y and Emmett Kerrigan’s “Nest” in Gallery X. These two Chicago-based artists have long been mainstays of the gallery roster, and here, they both present bodies of new work that address differing points of view about the relationships between humans and our natural environment. For Fosberg, humankind’s destruction of nature and nature’s subsequent destructive forces are paramount, while Kerrigan embraces the comfort and beauty of the small doses of nature we enjoy within Chicago’s Midwestern urbanity. In both of their practices, the artists have located the tree as a shared, dual symbol of nature’s resilience as well as its fragility.
In “The End of Absurdity,” Lora Fosberg expounds upon her longstanding preoccupation with disasters and the natural landscape. Her content is overarchingly serious, though her cartoonish depiction of the human figure contributes a note of folly that nods towards the exhibition’s title. Her tiny, identical figures labor and toil like ants, dragging and piling detritus and freshly felled trees. The diminutiveness of the human form is accentuated by the terrifying magnitude of the natural disasters Fosberg depicts within these narrative works. Swirling tornadoes rip through the earth, while vast fires with plumes of smoke consume grid works of urban blocks and towering buildings.
Fosberg’s characteristic line drawings are here enacted upon new mediums for the artist: works on plaster with paper, and carved and pigmented plaster reliefs. The swirls of the cyclones and the billowing smoke are rendered as linear patterns, the seductive tactility of these carved ridges and valleys making, in the artist’s words, “difficult images so beautiful that you almost forget about the abhorrent event” at hand. But, Fosberg’s works are not altogether pessimistic. In the works on paper, beams of color issue from distant sources like rays of hope amidst the chaos, and Fosberg’s sculptures, with their piles of miniature consumer goods and furniture, suggest the kind of collective rebuilding of personal, material possessions that inevitably emerges from amongst the aftermath.
In Emmett Kerrigan’s work, nature is just as powerful as it is in Fosberg’s, but instead of a fearsome force, it’s a perpetual, bounteous one. Throughout his career, Kerrigan has always found inspiration in the landscapes of home, narrowing the definition of the word over time from the sprawling fields and the vast industrial campuses of the rural Midwest, to the length of the street on which he lives, to now, the view from the roof of his Chicago homestead. Dominating the compositions of his signature high-relief paintings are treetops bursting with color from between the blocks of buildings and houses.
Kerrigan also elevates these trees from mere elements of a landscape to singular symbols in his series of acrylic gouache works on paper. Here, the greens and reds of the deciduous trees’ leaves radiate from the black paper ground, the acrylic gouache stippling of the application reinforcing the lushness and tactility of his imagery. While each of Kerrigan’s works are motivated by true-to-life views of the landscape, he pushes his subject matter towards the ideal. Instead of being bound to the imperfections of reality, “I prefer the adventure of building it myself,” he says, which not only allows the artist to emphasize the maximum aesthetic potential of the natural elements, but it also allows for endless exploration of this rather intimate subject matter of “home.”
Lora Fosberg has exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad. Recent solo exhibitions include Kayo Gallery in Salt Lake City, Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI. Fosberg received her BFA from the University of Illinois, Champaign, IL and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Fosberg’s work is in the holdings of such collections as Kirkland & Ellis and Eaton Center in Cleveland, as well as numerous prestigious private collections. Recent commissions include installations at Brindille Restaurant and Naha Restaurant in Chicago. This is her seventh solo exhibition with the gallery.
Emmett Kerrigan has been shown extensively throughout the Midwest, including solo exhibitions at the Elmhurst Art Museum, Contemporary Art Center of Peoria, The University Club of Chicago, The Union League Club of Chicago, Beverly Arts Center in Chicago and The Ohio State University. His work can be found in numerous prestigious corporate collections, including Wellington Management, Kirkland & Ellis, The Sandor Family Collection, the East Bank Club and Eaton Center in Cleveland. Kerrigan received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and he has also studied at the Chautauqua School of Art and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This is his fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.