Proximity Presents Exhibition Series:
Tales from the Bubble
September 25, 2009 through October 11, 2009
Opening reception: Friday, September 25 6-9pm
Extended hours until 1 am during performance program
3219 S Morgan St
Chicago Il 60608
Tel : 773.837.0145
Exhibition hours: Open during events and by appointment.
Tales from the bubble is the working title Berry Sanders has chosen for his participation in an art project of the Public Media Institute in Chicago. This project includes a solo exhibition and a residency for three weeks in one of the studios of the institute.
For his exhibition the artist created a series consisting of twelve stories painted in oil on paper. The works are painted only in black and white, with as another striking feature the use of a wide range in size of the brushes. This produces significant differences in detail and that adds to the dynamics of the image. Peacefully observing these images is a challenge. The eye is constantly torn between the immediate surface and the suggested depth. Perception pinches, because there is a clear tension between the different layers in which sometimes a single swipe can suggest a painted space. This tension in observing adds in processing the narrative element in his work. The stories are not to be interpreted at a single glance. The painter shows us persons in action in a constructed, not appropriate world. The pictures are confusing, the action seems pointless. In Recital no4 soldiers are pushing a piano through a forest. In TV-nation cameramen are filming a person behind a desk in an otherwise empty landscape.
The artist forces us to look at human activity with a distance. In F-side, for example, he shows us the needs of man to merge into a massive, almost religious devotion to soccer, complete with its rituals and symbols. The supporters or hooligans are ready to fight for their team, just as fanatical as believers do to protect their faith. Intrusively the artist shows us the struggle of modern man in facing an uncertain future, outside the previously so familiar religious inspired existence. Apparently life in the void is no option for this crowd. In these images the bubble is a key to the story. It is used as a metaphor for the accumulation of hopes and dreams of man. It is not clear whether the bubble is still beautiful and complete or already splashed.
The characters are placed in beautiful atmospheric landscapes. The often overwhelming nature of the mountains in Vietnam or the American wilderness, contributes to the international impact of his work. It also gives us the possibility for a different interpretation. He is not afraid to paint cliché landscapes. They seem to be picked from a postcard, and, by the lack of colour, they refer to a distant past. A past that is forever gone.
The beholder can make his own choice between being numb by comfort in the bubble, or cope with the harsh reality after the burst.
The artist is fascinated by Albert Camus (1913-1960). With existentialism as a starting point, this philosopher shows us the meaninglessness or absurdity of human life without faith in God or Salvation.
- essay by Elisabeth Schreuder, Art Historian, August 2009