Lake Effect / Nor’easter Part I at Andrew Rafacz Gallery | Art review
LaMontagne Gallery imports four Boston artists for an unusual exchange.
The city’s young artists tend to move to New York. Its galleries struggle to find loyal collectors and scrape together the money to attend art fairs. Locals complain that its museums don’t do enough to support homegrown talent.
I’m not just describing Chicago. Those problems also beset the Boston art world. The affinities between our two underrecognized communities add a layer of interest to this exhibition, which represents an exchange with Boston’s LaMontagne Gallery.
The works on view don’t always speak for themselves. Because “Lake Effect / Nor’easter: Part I” offers little information about its four artists, and fails to explain how they fit into their scene (or don’t), it comes off as a typical West Loop exhibition of emerging and midcareer painters and sculptors. Still, that similarity lets us expect rich conceptual underpinnings from its deceptively simple pieces.
Jeff Perrott depends on a spinner to direct the colorful squiggles of his large-scale abstract paintings RW47 (I Wanna Be Adored) and RW85 (Less Harder Please). Perrott’s robust lines—mostly gradients in RW85—stand out brilliantly against his oatmeal-colored canvas, blurring into each other and dripping, reminding us that they’re shaped by chance.
Joe Wardwell layers phrases from rock songs over what appear to be 19th-century American landscape paintings, perhaps referencing the bombast of Manifest Destiny. Daniela Rivera’s installation Growth is an homage to Richard Long’s 1967 performance A Line Made by Walking. Tory Fair’s two abstract sculptures—blocks of aluminum and bubble gum–pink resin—invite us to delight in their materials.
None of these works reveals meaningful connections to Massachusetts. Maybe it’s equally foolish to seek a “Chicago art.”