Close to Me: Mel Cook, Em Kettner, Celeste Rapone, Allison Reimus, & Ryan Richey

With Brook Stinkinson Withrow and Diamond Stingily "COMING SOON: Do you Edibles Dispensary and Pharmaceutical Cafe" in the Milwaukee Ave. Window Gallery

Some paintings beg for a close read– densely layered or rendered in fine detail by a 000 brush. A fetishistic meticulousness. An intimacy of material.

We have seen a turn toward figuration across media, whether employed as a formal structure or to address the politics of bodies. An intimacy of subject.

There is a precedent of both such intimacies (while adding dashes of irreverent abstraction and wit) in the works of Chicago painters such as Barbara Rossi, Miyoko Ito, Jim Lutes, and Christina Ramberg.

In the submission review for our Spring 2017 season, we identified an inclination for rendering bodies (or suggestions of) with intricately crafted surfaces. “Close to Me” is a snapshot of these tendencies, presenting five artists that work primarily in painting (and wall hanging sculpture):

Mel Cook’s slippery, awkward male figures are trapped in the universe of their own tighty whiteys. Em Kettner’s fragmented totems jive across the wall. The mundane, yet tempestuous characters in Celeste Rapone’s narratives contort to the confines of the picture plane. Allison Reimus’ canvases give us macro views of patterns that conflate the domestic and cryptic, table cloths or shrouds? And the windows into Ryan Richey’s everyday scenes reveal cheeky psychology with each closer read.



And in the Yr It! Gallery:

COMING SOON: Doyou Edibles Dispensary and Pharmaceutical Cafe

Brook and Diamond collaborated on a video called “Doyou reviews #1” in 2016, preceded by a coupon text on acrylic by Brook in 2015 related to the speculative Doyou Edibles Dispensary and Pharmaceutical Cafe.

Diamond Stingily is an artist and writer from Illinois who now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She shown at Queer Thoughts Gallery (Tribeca) and Ramiken Crucible (Lower East Side).

Brook Sinkinson Withrow lives in Chicago. She is an archivist and editor for Contemporary Art Group. She was co-director of a project space in Pilsen called Forever & Always, has shown at Night Club and Species (Atlanta), and participated in reading events at Julius Caesar, “McPoems,” and Beautiful Gallery.