Corbett vs. Dempsey is very pleased to present In the Meantime, an exhibition of new sculpture by Arlene Shechet. This is the artist’s first solo show in Chicago.
In abstract forms that often reference the human body, Shechet creates works with an uncanny combination of elegance and expressiveness, sometimes containing extremes of balance and gnarliness in a single piece, folding together, stacking, inlaying, or interleaving disparate materials into cohesive, but heterogeneous, wholes. Shechet is known as a brilliant ceramicist, but ceramics form one part of a much larger practice that also deploys wood, metal, and concrete, and her deft use of color is a major part of the work. For this exhibition, she has brought together an unusually wide range of sizes and morphologies, from tall, full-figure works like “Reverb,” “Spring Snow,” and “Living at the Castle,” or the almost graphically gracile horizontal lines of “Split Second,” to small, magical wall and shelf pieces like “Bubble Up” and “A Soft Hard Rain.” Exclusively in black, white, and grey, “Equal Time” is a major new work that nods at Constructivism, an aggregation of elemental shapes miraculously heaped together.
The depth and expanse of Shechet’s vision was on view in All At Once, a survey at the ICA Boston in 2015, which looked back at two decades of work. Since that detailed exhibition Shechet mounted a solo presentation at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, and she was invited to perform extremely rare solo interventions at both the Frick Collection, New York, and the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., placing her sculpture alongside works from the institutions’ permanent collections. In the Meantime is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, available at the opening reception.
In the East Wing, CvsD is proud to bring together one of Karl Wirsum’s great early paintings, “No Dogs Aloud,” a portrait of blues singer Howlin’ Wolf from 1965, with a group of eight preparatory drawings, drawn from more than fifty such works on paper executed over a nine-month period. The painting is an outstanding example of his rare back-painted Plexi works. This work comes just a year before Wirsum joined the Hairy Who for the first of the Chicago Imagist exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC); it was unveiled in the year it was made at a group exhibition at HPAC, the first of three thematic shows, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, curated by Don Baum. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog featuring images of many of the preparatory drawings.