Nov 12th 2022

Sweet 16: 16 Years of Geoffrey Todd Smith at Western Exhibitions

@ (northern) Western Exhibitions

7933 N Lincoln Ave, Skokie, IL 60077

Opening Saturday, November 12th, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Saturday, January 7th

Chicago contemporary art gallery Western Exhibitions is thrilled to announce the opening of a second location, (northern) Western Exhibitions, in Skokie, Illinois. This suburban space will expand on the Chicago location’s programming with approximately five specially curated exhibitions a year featuring work by artists from the gallery’s 20-year history.

(northern) Western Exhibitions will open on November 12 with a celebration of the gallery’s 16+ year relationship with Chicago-based artist Geoffrey Todd Smith. Known for his highly detailed abstractions, Smith creates complex, rule-based pieces that place him firmly within the orbit of modern American art, but with a wandering eye to the future. Sweet 16: 16 Years of Geoffrey Todd Smith at Western Exhibitions opens November 12, 2022 with a free public reception from 5 to 8pm and runs through January 7, 2023, at (northern) Western Exhibitions.

For Sweet 16, the gallery will present one work from each of the 16 years Smith has shown at Western Exhibitions. The gallery first showed his geometric abstractions, whimsical and colorful gel pen drawings, at Art Chicago at the Mart in 2006 and he had his first solo show in 2007, showing abstract drawings that mixed beauty and danger in equal measure, enticing viewers into fields of beautiful psychedelic patterning only to reveal wickedly spiked and thorny shapes. The show will commence with Maximum Saxophone, a painting on panel from his 2021 show at Western Exhibitions, Sordid Orchestra, where each work began with one continuous, wavy line, meandering throughout the picture plain, until it ended back where it started. In a complicated juggling act of materials, Smith integrated a variety of mediums including, acrylic, enamel, gel pens, gouache and oil-based paint markers, on both paper and wooden surfaces. In between, viewers will be taken on hue-saturated rollercoaster ride of pulsating pattern, undulating curvaceous forms and fetishistic mark-marking

(northern) Western Exhibitions commissioned an essay specifically for the show, available as a take-away at the gallery, by Chicago expat Dominic Molon, the Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum in Providence, Rhode Island . In “A dot, a line, and a pattern walk into a bar …” Molon states:

A painting such as Show Me All of Your Piercings and I’ll Tell You All of My Dreams possesses a stoic restraint in its use of white, black, gold, gray, and brown, and tightly alternating patterns. Contrast this with the fluidity and off-centeredness of Unmemorable Tryst with a Hypnotist, which layers differently patterned circular, ovoid, sunburst, and square forms (among others) with curving lines of varying thickness in a seemingly inchoate jumble. Philip Glass meets David Lee Roth … Stephen Wright meets Sam Kinison … Michael Snow meets Mel Brooks and so on. Smith fascinatingly alternates the personality of his paintings within his own oeuvre, making the inconsistency of their temperament and tone an absolute constant in his practice.

(northern) Western Exhibitions will share a renovated single-floor bow truss building on Skokie’s charming downtown corridor with WHO Modern, a mid-century modern-focused vintage store co-run by Donald Schmaltz and building owner Zach Williams. As a vintage veteran with a love for Italian furniture, Schmaltz previously co-owned Chicago’s Circa Modern and has worked as a design specialist at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers and Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. In addition to curating furniture and designed objects at WHO Modern, Schmaltz will also oversee day-to-day operations at (northern) Western Exhibitions.

(northern) Western Exhibitions and WHO Modern are located at 7933 N Lincoln Ave, Skokie, IL 60077. Street parking is available. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 12-6pm and Sunday, 10am-3pm.

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