“Afterimage” at DePaul Art Museum | Art review
Imagists such as Roger Brown and Ray Yoshida inspire younger artists.
As instructors at SAIC and other local schools, the Imagists, who began exhibiting together in the 1960s, bequeathed their interests in representation and pop culture, brash color palettes and irreverent humor to a subsequent generation of Chicago artists. “Afterimage” examines the influence of Brown, Ray Yoshida, Christina Ramberg and their colleagues on these twenty- and thirtysomethings.
Cocurated by Thea Liberty Nichols and Dahlia Tulett-Gross, the show includes a few too many rising stars seen in every survey of contemporary Chicago art, but it exposes affinities between older and younger artists that I had never noticed before.
The scalloped pattern, stark black outlines and gradations of blue and purple in Steven Husby’s painting Untitled (2011) resemble Brown’s work. Though abstract, Richard Hull’s Adolescence (2011) recalls the portraits of women that Jim Nutt exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art last year. (Hull coteaches an SAIC course with the Hairy Who artist.) Ellen Nielsen’s Spectacle Box (2007), a vitrine of sequins arranged by type and size, echoes Yoshida’s taxonomies of comic-book tropes. A gallery of exciting Imagist works from DPAM’s and other regional collections helps viewers make their own connections.
While painting dominates “Afterimage,” Nichols and Tulett-Gross demonstrate that Imagist values translate to newer media. Amy Lockhart’s 2009 animation The Collagist and a Trubble Club mini library are so much fun that I wish the Imagists had produced more videos and comics of their own.—Lauren Weinberg
DPAM hosts Imagism in Documentary Film Wednesday 24.