Saturday, September 5, 2009

Upcoming exhibitions at Western Exhibitions, Chicago

September 11 - October 10, 2009

In Gallery 1

Paul Nudd: Vomitromiton

In Gallery 2

Dan Attoe

Opening Reception: Friday, September 11, 5 to 8pm

Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 6pm

PAUL NUDD Gallery Talk: Thursday, September 24 at 6pm

Western Exhibitions will open two new shows on Friday, September 11 with a public reception from 5 to 8pm. In Gallery 1, PAUL NUDD will show new paintings, drawing and collages. In Gallery 2, DAN ATTOE will present one new painting and several of his "daily drawings". Please also join us on Thursday, September 24 for a gallery talk with Paul Nudd at 6pm.

In Gallery 1
Paul Nudd

Paul Nudd will pack the gallery with new paintings and drawings inspired by and depicting what the artist calls the "peri-anal universe". Although his muse is an abject one; the works can't help but reveal a strange and elegant beauty. The works' coloristic and formal contrasts, as described below, are manifestations of Nudd's primary interest: the decaying natural world as seen against the artificiality of the made world.

The paintings on canvas refer to microscopic lifeforms, often looking like exceptionally well-designed bacterial samples squashed between two glass slides. Nudd refers to the works' primary compositional elements as "blobs" - oval shapes, painted or collaged onto the raw canvas, that are replicated in varying sizes and colors (usually earth tones, but also shocking pinks and reds) across the canvas. Occasionally, the artist's blobs are punctuated with low-relief "nuclei" crafted from nuggets of modeling clay in high-keyed colors. Nudd's color flips back and forth between differing approaches to the visceral; pop-candy colors vibrate against the dingy fake vomit tones; unbleached titanium clashes with fleshy hues.

At a glance, the paintings seem busy, out of control - randomly mixed colors and shapes. But dedicated viewing reveals the paintings to be carefully composed portraits of filth and decay: gooey puddles, fussy swaths of sludge, scumbles of strange substances, delicate stains, wisps of string, hair, felt and fake vomit settle on the plain of the blank canvas like scabs on smooth skin.

Despite the artist's self-proclaimed efforts to make "gross-out" art, Nudd's paintings are perversely attractive, disgustingly hilarious and infinitely engaging. As Anthony Elms notes in a recent essay on Nudd's work, "See, it is possible to giggle, panic, and squirm at the same time, and that is what Paul's artwork consistently aims to induce." Nudd maps a world - or as he says, a fishtank - of bacterial delights. As he states in a recent interview with Evan Lennox (available at the gallery), "I don't aim to offend anyone; on the contrary, I want people to engage with my work for as long as possible. I just think there is an entire abyss of color combinations, forms, textures, and approaches to making things that people need to see. Crust, slop, and meditations on fake vomit and its uses are all interesting points of departure."

This is Paul Nudd's second solo show at Western Exhibitions. Recent solo and two-person shows include Jack the Pelican Presents in Brooklyn, telephonebooth in Kansas City and the Hyde Park Art Center, Bodybuilder & Sportsmen, and Dogmatic, all in Chicago, and group shows at Andreas Bruning Gallery in Dusseldorf, the Evanston Art Center, the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, and Mixture Contemporary in Houston. He recently completed a collaborative printmaking residency with Onsmith at the Spudnik Press in Chicago and his zines and artist books are in several institutional artist book collections across the country. He is a recent recipient of an Illinois Art Council grant. Paul Nudd received his MFA from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2001 and he lives and works in Berwyn, Illinois.

In Gallery 2
Dan Attoe

The shock rocker (and now horror film director) Rob Zombie's floating head looms over 6 pairs of kayakers on a melancholy seascape in Dan Attoe's new oil painting, "Sea Kayakers (You Are Not Special)". The Zombie apparition, a recurring prophet in Attoe's work, spouts a cryptic aphorism, in text delicately rendered by the artist. Is this phrase directed to us, the viewers, or to the kayakers, or both?

"Sea Kayakers (You Are Not Special)" anchors Dan Attoe's solo show in Western Exhibitions Gallery 2. He will also present several "daily drawings", an extension of a past project of making a small painting every day over a couple of years. In these drawings, Attoe illustrates whatever is holding his interest at the moment, be it a Far Side cartoon, rock and rollers, whatever happened in the local bar last night, a scene from one of the Pacific Northwest's legendary strip clubs, or a depiction of the Pacific Northwest's legendary topography. He uses these drawings as foundations for paintings and neon sculptures and makes them in a stream of consciousness manner, letting the images, text and ideas that pop into his head make their way onto the paper. Attoe states in a recent interview, available at the gallery, that "there is no overarching theme to my work, there are things that pop up frequently because of where I live, or because of things I was interested in as a kid, etc. I like to leave the subject matter open to interpretation."

This is Dan Attoe's second solo show with Western Exhibitions. We also hosted his collaborative installation troupe Paintallica for a wild show in 2006. Attoe will be having a concurrent show at Peres Projects in Los Angeles, with whom he has had 5 prior solo shows. Other solo shows include MUSAC in Leon, Spain, Vilma Gold in London and 404 Arte Contemporanea in Naples. Group shows include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, France, AMP in Athens, Galleria Maria de Cardenas in Milan, the Saatchi Gallery in London and the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. His work has been discussed in Artforum,, Contemporary, Paper, Los Angeles Times, Art Review and LA Weekly. Paintallica recently completed an installation at the Country Club gallery in Los Angeles. Dan Attoe received his MFA from the University of Iowa in 2004 and he lives and works just outside of Portland, Oregon.

For more information and images, please contact the gallery:
Western Exhibitions
(312) 480-8390

119 N Peoria St, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60607 USA