May 25th 2019

Becoming Unnatural

@ Slow

2153 W 21st St, Chicago, IL 60608

Opening Saturday, May 25th, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Saturday, June 29th

There are human themes, just a few. There is also an outrageous tendency to push things into the “appropriate” column whether it fits or not. Perhaps it is an attempt to understand something we don’t understand.

Column A: nature.

One of my favorite drawings ever ever was made by David Shrigley. It is a simple and clumsy rendering of a pine tree with inset circles that contain close up views of the needle patterns. There is text scrawled across it: “Magnification reveals nature to be boring.”

We tend to skip over much of the information that comes at us. Nature can seem boring because we take in so little of what is there. When we isolate the wrong thing we are still left without an Aha. Melissa Pokorny and E.C. Brown are looking at nature, but not in ways we are used to. Nature winning when we humans have perhaps failed. The artists aren’t exactly isolating things. Both are making natural worlds that are infused with artifice and contradiction, or just altered. Colors and forms are lifted out of their places in the world, but we see them inserted back into complex and dynamic systems. Each gives us solid grounding inside their inner worlds (their spaces are projections). It is often easy to name things we can see in their works, but that is different than setting us up for ideas that make easy sense or follow rules. Their plots of earth have critters. There may even be architecture, but the sort of building that isn’t buildings so much as adjustment to the grounds to make an encounter with what is there more accommodating of our presence, or telling of our being there.

There is a funny inverse in this seeing an ecosystem that has been acted upon. Opens up a window, the possibility that we, the humans, the actors, were once natural.

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