Thursday, January 8, 2009

"of or relating to the sky or visible heavens"

Opening Reception:
Friday, January 9, 5-8pm

In Gallery 1

"of or relating to the sky or visible heavens"


Michelle Grabner
Carrie Gundersorf
Shane Huffman
Matthew Northridge
Melissa Oresky
Stan Shellabarger

In Gallery 2

Pedro Velez
The Day of the Corrupt: Our Father's left US shit

Show Dates: January 9 to February 14, 2009
Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 6pm


In Gallery 1

"of or relating to the sky or visible heavens"

On Friday, January 9, 2009, Western Exhibition opens a new group show, "of or relating to the sky or visible heavens" with a public reception from 5 to 8pm. The show will run from January 9 to February 14. "of or relating to the sky or visible heavens", the dictionary definition of the word celestial, is curated by gallery director Scott Speh and will present work that considers, be it literally, metaphorically or otherwise, objects in the sky.

Shane Huffman's new large horizontal photograph is of a picture taken by the Hubble Telescope, overlaid by washes of semen and menstrual blood. His new photo series of images of the Moon, titled "Drawing Down the Moon", are made by "drawing" with a camera lens on undeveloped photo paper outdoors in the dark of night.

Michelle Grabner's Rainbow Flocking installations are unique site-specific works created by flocking and spray-painting directly onto the gallery walls. Lane Relyea provides an apt analysis in his essay, "Michelle Grabner's Never Quite Happy Home" - an excerpt: Each of Grabner's rainbows feels nothing short of a miracle. But her work also seems nagged by worries that mere prettiness and unearned euphoria are precisely how the promise and miracle of art are most often dismissed. It's only by owning up to such doubts, without being defeated by them, that the work can take art's promise of happiness seriously, and risk so much on it. Grabner's rainbows are miracles, but common and everyday ones, appearing everywhere, in people's gardens and on their rooftops.

Carrie Gundersorf's drawings and paintings refer to astronomical images that are created by time-lapse photography, spectroscopes, computer-enhanced photographs, images from books and the Internet. She extracts shapes, lines, colors and patterns that serve as a starting point for compositional strategies. Her three new large drawings, color pencil and watercolor, introduce pictorial elements like diffusion to her elegant vocabulary that draws on the history and language of early modernist painting and found astronomical images to create tensions of past and present, touch and image, and science and craft.

Matthew Northridge's "Who's Watching the Time and Who Will Know When to Quit?" consists of a lunar globe whose surface has been altered by installing hundreds of rubber grommets. Suspended from the ceiling and situated at a height above that of the viewer, light registers through the porous sphere from different angles, revealing the object's hollow interior.

"Circulator" by Melissa Oresky is a simply composed yet densely constructed painting of a sun or star-like sphere of accumulated debris that is all roiling tension - it presses itself insistently upon the viewer. Shards of yellows, grays and greens and poured areas of paint compete with abstract elements and linear nerve-like cells to present an orb in crisis.

This show will also feature a series of Stan Shellabarger's "Contrail Photos", archival inkjet prints in hand-made silver-leafed frames, of the trails made by jet planes. These works extend Shellabarger's ongoing interest in how humans leave traces of themselves on the earth (by walking, scuffing, eroding, writing, etc.) into the sky.

In Gallery 2

Pedro Velez
The Day of the Corrupt: Our Father's left US shit

"If you fucking think oppression in marginalized countries is fashionably exotic for your seedy Biennial just wait till you see the picture I have of Francesco Bonami, Keely Coles and Blagojevich mounting Roger Clemen's splitter on top of a coral reef"

These famous last words I overheard coming out of the mouth of Jones District at the crowded dingy bar gringos call Marrero in dirty humid San Juan. I heard it right underneath the glossy poster of the semi nude voracious curvy blonde holding the sweaty cold canned beer like a gold medal. Later on that evening Paul Kemp made apologies for Jones slippage, he told me the soon- to- be snitch was drunk as hell and high on coca. I didn't believe it. To me the coke argument was besides the point because Jones looks like every other pundit, he seems to always be staring at the horizon with no consolation prize on sight. To me Jones looks like the Nile Perch from Lake Victoria, a sort of helpless creep with the human face of Alfred Adler.

Excerpt from "The Day of the Corrupt: Our Fathers left US shit" by Pedro Vélez

Since 1999 Pedro Vélez has channeled moral coercion and political corruption by producing fake exhibition announcements, developing on-going fictional narratives on the web, publishing art journals and creating itinerant presentations with the group, FGA (a.k.a Fucking Good Art) that may occur in the virtual realm. The announcements for fake exhibitions include faux characters that "pay to play" along real but unwilling personalities, mostly superstar art curators, porn starlets and third world dictators.

For his exhibition The Day of the Corrupt: Our Fathers left US shit at Western Exhibitions, Pedro Vélez will develop a narrative, in three chapters, that incorporates angry observations and a list of corrupted personalities. The narrative will take shape in a humongous wall collage, paintings, photographic banners and the brand new web piece, Remote Control Curators, which denounces the unethical practice of lazy curators curating by email. More here:

Psychosomatic Epilepsy is a series of new paintings and photographs of women, made up to look like they have been beaten, in which the artist tries to depict the bodily effects caused by the emotional trauma of living in a U.S. colony-Puerto Rico. Misremember is based on the odd use of the verb by baseball player, Roger Clemens when asked, during his deposition before Congress, about his longtime friend and teammate, Andy Pettitte, who claimed the pitcher told him about using Human Growth Hormone in 1999 or 2000: "I think he misremembers our conversation," said Clemens.

Included with the exhibition will be Glacier, a limited edition Xerox book, in collaboration with Gean Moreno, that had been lost by a corrupt art dealer since 2004.

This exhibition in Gallery 2 at Western Exhibitions marks Pedro Vélez' return to Chicago after a 5-year "vacation" in his homeland of Puerto Rico. This is Vélez' fourth solo show with the gallery. Recent solo shows include Plush Gallery in Dallas (2007), Galeria Comercial in San Juan (2006) and Ingalls & Associates in Miami (2005) as well as a special project for the 2005 NADA Art Fair. He's been included in group shows at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in NYC, Locust Projects in Miami, The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, Arte Foundation in San Juan, the Newark Center for the Arts in New Jersey and Museo del Barrio in NYC. His work has been discussed in Frieze, Artlies, Art Papers and several other publications. Vélez maintains a regular column about the art scene in San Juan for Artnet and his writing has been published in Arte al Dia, APT Global Insight, Art Papers and Modern Painters.

More info and images:


Western Exhibitions
119 Peoria St, #2A
Chicago, IL 60607