John Wenner owns a company that does custom metalwork, producing smooth surfaces in stainless steel and other metals for architects and high-end interior designers. But his two dozen works at Drive-Thru Studios are rough and imprecise, carefully made with flaking paint and hints of rust to resemble bits of industrial junk–as if to critique sleekness. That theme is expanded in his four “Plumb Paintings.” In each a plumb bob is suspended from the center of a target painting on the wall and aimed at a smaller, roughly painted target set on the floor. But the small target can be moved, so the plumb’s precise straight line–something Wenner relies on in his job–sometimes misses its center. Many of Wenner’s other pieces, which resemble machinery that has no apparent use, invite one to touch them. In Land Buoy #14 a rectilinear frame with a curved bottom supports a freestanding metal bar that can be wheeled along grooves in the frame, and in Rocker Disc a curved bottom supports a disk at the end of a rod that can also be moved along a groove. But both move with difficulty–again undermining the notion of perfection. Drive-Thru Studios, 626 W. 18th, through November 30. Hours are 12 to 5 Saturday and Sunday; 312-243-7901.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Fred Camper.