Exploding Faces, Confining Spaces, Robert Bills Contemporary

[February 12 – March 15, 2011 ]
[ Opening Reception Saturday, February 12th from 5-8pm ]

Robert Bills Contemporary’s group exhibition, Exploding Faces, Confining Spaces, presents three artists whose violence and energy breaks the constraints of historical connotation and exceeds the confined space of their marginalized media. Nathan Vernau’s tormenting psychological narratives become entertainment for the viewer, showcased in shallow, comic-book-like and theatrical environments. The simple playfulness associated with the spaces and color themes inverts itself to become another mocking voice that tortures the multiple figurations of the artist that participate in acting out emotional turmoil. Steven Frost appropriates the combination of violence and theatricality that defines professional wrestling and boxing using the rhetoric of craft and textile. The exploding faces of the male figures, the symbolic location of their fictional and socially loaded identities, dissolve into entropic clouds shaped so as to embody the violence of their abstraction. Tiphanie Spencer’s employment of the antiquated arabesque aesthetic melds dainty decoration, abstracted figures and narratives into a single web of linear connectivity that seemsto dismantle what was previously an entire environment into its component parts, yet whose forms and branches remain hopelessly

Steven Frost represents male tropes appropriated from pop culture within a textile-based rhetoric, bringing together a deceivingly playful lightness and a sharp awareness of these tropes’ embodied violence. His brilliant abstracting of violent movement and energy with materials like colorful pom-pom balls, string, rhinestones, and other craft materials creates an extremely emotive tension that is immediately registered by the viewer. The seemingly simple compositions pack a strong and disturbing punch with a complexity only fully realized when one becomes aware of the strange quality the craft materials take on in this context. Bullets are represented by rhinestones in the depiction of Davey Crocket, and a tangled mess of string instantly comes to represent the mutilation of flesh when considered in the context of a boxing match, standing in for the boxer’s destroyed face.

Robert Bills Contemporary was named one of the top ten hottest galleries at Next 2010 by The Chicago Tribune. The gallery is
located in Chicago’s West Loop at 222 North Desplaines Street at Lake on the lower level. For general inquiries please contact the Gallery Director, Emma Stein at emma@robertbillscontemporary.com, or call 312.234.9091.

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