Nov 19th 2010

Deb Sokolow and The Power of Selection, part 3

@ Western Exhibitions

119 N Peoria St, 2A, Chicago, IL 60607

Opening Friday, November 19th, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Friday, December 31st

In a departure from a studio practice that up until now has focused on large-scale, installation-oriented drawings, Sokolow is switching gears to embark on a new, long-term project of writing dozens of chapters, in no particular order, for a book that will never fully exist. Each chapter is drafted by hand on a single 30 x 22 page of paper, edited, erased, rewritten a number of times, and finally mounted onto a tablet-like panel. Each page, when finished, represents an entire visual record of the process that takes place when writing each chapter.

The contents of these chapters include both serious and ridiculous investigations into politics and conspiracy theories as well as thoughts on architecture, wig-wearing, and salami sandwiches. These topics will seem somewhat unrelated, but there are two common existing threads: the implication of an overarching narrative (which will begin to take a clearer shape as additional chapters are written over the next few years) and Sokolow’s voice, an unreliable alter-ego protagonist, who authors each chapter and provides (in true meta-fiction fashion) a running commentary, often of a self-critical and premonition-like nature, located between the lines of text and margins of each page. Long-term, Sokolow will continue to write chapters and present them, always out of order, in different combinations, so that when mixed and matched, a different “mood” will form from the juxtaposition of the exhibited chapters. Sokolow’s stories are inspired from watching of epic-like television dramas such as Battlestar Galactica and Deadwood, and from a recent immersion into books such as Muriel Spark’s The Comforters, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, Iain Bank’s The Wasp Factory and Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, all of which incorporate elements of meta-fiction, the unreliable narrator and paranoia into the story-telling process.

The first few chapters from Sokolow’s book as well as their visuals and sources (such as footnotes, images, architectural renderings, charts and book-like objects) will be presented in this solo show at Western Exhibitions.

In Gallery 2, The Power of Selection, part 3 is the third in a series of three shows curated by Ryan Travis Christian for Western Exhibitions. Christian, who writes for, Beautiful Decay and selects an Artist of the Day, each and every day on his Facebook page, has organized these shows, the first in January, the second in June and the third here in November, to increase the circulation of contemporary artwork seen in Chicago by showing works from out of town and/or up-and-coming artists.

Artists in this salon-style blow-out include Michelle Blade, Louisa Chase, Chris Duncan, Joseph Hart, Maya Hayuk, Matt Irie, Jason Jagel, Michael Kreuger, Matt Lock, Alex Lukas, Bill McRight, Frankie Martin, Eddie Martinez, Kristine Moran, Erin Morrison, Sarah Mosk, Jeanette Mundt, Aaron Noble, Marcie Oakes, Maggie Otero, Mathew Palladino, Hilary Pecis, Cleon Peterson, Brion Nuda Rosch, Kate Ruggeri, Jovi Schnell, Andrew Schoultz, Eric Shaw, Marissa Textor, Ann Toebbe, Sumi Ink Club, Chuck Webster, Ryan Wallace.

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