Mar 5th 2021

Two highly conceptual, and deeply personal aspects of nature by artists David Hartt and Leah Ke Yi Zheng are presented in Memory’s Great Vertigo, an exhibition organized by Jason Pickleman, and now on view at one of Chicago’s smallest galleries: Paris London Hong Kong.

Produced while studying for his MFA at The School of the Art Institute in 1993-94, two dark black cast reliefs of squared-off plywood (the size of a 12” record album) by David Hartt are paired with four new paintings by Leah Ke Yi Zheng [SAIC, MFA, 2019], whose small and irregularly shaped canvases contain cryptic icons that allude to ways of seeing and processing the world’s phenomena.

Hartt’s untitled diptych appears heavy, solemn and charred, presented as if a relic from a natural event that needed to be isolated and preserved. In a letter to Pickleman, Hartt describes the black metal plates as “exploring symbolic representations of nature”, declaring an idea that became a foundational tenet to his ever more advanced installations, the most recent of which took place at Corbett Vs. Dempsey earlier this year.

In contrast to the heavy and dense appearance of Hartt’s work, Ke Yi uses thin veils of oil on transparent Chinese silk, which are wrapped around, and sometimes overtly tacked to subtly shaped, and potentially awkward looking hand-made stretcher bars.“They are a representation of nature in the perceptual realm,” says Ke Yi, “Almost like representing what perception feels like to me, like an abstract quality as the picture plane. I try to take “boundary” as a natural material with which to work.” The exhibition asks the viewer to consider notions of likeness—both physical and emotional. “Imagined presences,” notes Ke Yi.

The works are installed directly facing each other in the small 140 square foot gallery.
A poem by Pickleman accompanies the exhibition and bears its title.

Pickleman is a Chicago-based service for art appreciation, acquisition, and advice. Jason Pickleman is a designer, collector, and gallerist known for servicing the
city’s cultural clientele through his design firm, JNL Graphic Design, and for his five year run as
the proprietor of collection-based gallery Lawrence & Clark.

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