The late American artist Chuck Close once famously said, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” While the first part of that quote may be true, the second part undoubtedly is. It also explains why all of Close’s paintings look pretty much the same: formulaic and uninspired. Inspiration is hard; punching a clock, on the other hand, is pretty easy. Knowing the difference between the two is harder still.
Chicago-based artists Aya Nakamura, Megan Diddie, and Alexandra Schutz are inspired, both by their physical engagement with the world and by the methods they’ve chosen to communicate the depth of that engagement. The works in their intimate new exhibition, “Concentrate and ask again,” at Heaven Gallery, are thematically and expressively divergent—befitting their unique minds and interests—but united by a shared love of material and process, fiber, and form.
Nakamura applies color to handmade paper, Diddie renders arborescent worlds with achromatic gouache, and Schutz weaves her way through jute, cotton, and bamboo. The methodical accumulation of marks are the life force that animates these subtle objects. Nakamura’s Heart (V), punctuated by breaks and ruptures, is both drawing and sculpture and so acts as a formal bridge between Schutz’s ambitious Arch and Diddie’s introspective locating yourself. Unassuming and self-assured, these works radiate a collective harmony that only the most inspired achieve.
“Concentrate and ask again”
Through 4/16: Fri-Sat 1 PM-6 PM, Sun 1 PM-5 PM, Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee, heavengallery.com
Interviewees: Alma Weiser, director of Heaven Gallery; Janet Dees, Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum curator of modern and contemporary art at the Block Museum of Art; Asha Iman Veal, associate curator at the Museum of Contemporary Photography; Teresa Silva, executive and artistic director of the Chicago Artists Coalition; Edra Soto, artist and codirector of the…
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