Shinsuke Aso | Krista Franklin | Stephen Irwin
“My hot cheek cools, my colour dies, the heat quite fades from my limbs. The restlessness turns all to scorn. I become what I was bred to be. I become a librarian.” 
“I have always written, and even spoken, on paper: on the subject of paper, an actual paper, and with paper in mind. Support, subject, surface, mark, trace, written mark, inscription, fold—these were also themes that gripped me by a tenacious certainty, which goes back forever but has been more and more justified and confirmed, that the history of this ‘thing,’ this thing that can be felt, seen, and touched, is thus contingent, paper, will have been a brief one.” 
“Through the operations of collage, its main character, the delicate pink-and-white bloom, seems simultaneously vulnerable and predatory: at the left, its opened, flesh-colored petals seem to attract the red, liplike slits at the tops of the three black phallic forms that rise from the picture’s bottom edge; at the right, the petals—coiled slightly—appear ready to entrap any passing adventurer into their space.” 
With courage, solace, fabulation, and contestation, artists and their blades and the erasers and several many water baths embark on a reentry into the paper kingdom that is variously preserved and languishing in dormant pockets and collapsing libraries intermittently positioned within the social as portals of knowledge and crises of representation. The kind of surface puncturing and disruption demonstrated by Shinsuke Aso, Krista Franklin, and Stephen Irwin signal a confluence of grudge matches not only with the blunt, oppressive force of cultural narratives passed across history, but also the material means by which they been fixed, reproduced, and circulated. Image is here reckoned with—not only in its free floating, spectral qualities, but also the physical ramifications, consequences, vestiges of a pictorial space produced through cutting apart and assembling, rubbing away and erasure, embedding and coating. With these sheets under consideration, depiction doesn’t move across the front of a surface, but rather thrusts in and out of the support apparatus. In contrast to the myths of monolithic mythmaking, fragments are held, distinct, perhaps melancholic for their prior contexts, but constellated within gossamer fiber.
Collage is a glory hole.
Was a time when the imprint of one’s renown was measured on paper: ‘You’ll see me in the magazines!” Pantheon pages, along with indexes like phone books, ‘whack stacks’ of pornos under beds or on upper closet shelves. Celebrity gossip. Publications of record. Peer reviewed journals. That rushing somersault of data into information into knowledge transpired on the page, a kind of page that now makes something of a hushed exit. A more widespread obsolescence of print media is insinuated in the material descriptions of artist Stephen Irwin’s works on paper: “altered vintage pornography.” So will it all be; so is it all. Dryads shudder, both from a sense of preservation from being harvested, milled, transformed, and redistributed, but also from a mordant sense of detachment from civilization’s progress narratives, unsettled, concerned searching for where the inscription of that saga continues—off the page, into what we call ‘the cloud,’ into code, out toward disembodiment.
Performatively, these reconfigurations reconsider the cut-and-paste politics of imperialists and ideologues, swaying them toward new orientations and subsequently alternative ontologies. Derangement defies the authority of a singular, prior, regulated format, instead pressuring presumed continuities in form, image, messaging, matter, and the capacity to matter. Lusty, transgressive operations. Severed. Severance. Perseverance.
2100 S. Marshall Blvd., Suite 105
Chicago, IL 60623
July 23 — September 10, 2023
Opening reception: Sunday, July 23, 3–6PM
Following the opening, gallery hours are available by appointment only.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements to visit RUSCHWOMAN during the run of the exhibition.
Image: Krista Franklin, Fig, 2023, Collage in handmade paper, 9h x 6w in.