Thursday, February 11, 2010

2.11.10 Greg Stimac & Scott Wolniak



February 3, 2010 - March 13, 2010

In the summer of 2009, while driving around the country, Greg Stimac attached a sheet of Plexiglas to the front of his car every time he set out for a new city. At the end of the road, whether in Baltimore, Cheyenne, or Reno, he would stop along the highway and use a flatbed scanner powered by the cigarette lighter to create a photograph of the insects and grit that built up on the surface. These images, set against total blackness, are tangible records of the artist's journeys— each one registers time and distance through an endless stream of minute collisions and the traces they left behind.

To create the works in this ongoing series, Stimac sets up basic parameters and then gives in to the process: he drives for hours while the road itself shapes the composition, one dust cloud or dead bug at a time. The final images reveal nothing of the scenery; if you want to know anything about the places he's been you'll have to search for meaning in the patterns on the glass. All the same, in making this body of work Stimac continues a long tradition of American road-trip photography; this history, you might say, just happens to be packed away in the trunk rather than sitting in the passenger's seat holding the map. In the end, one might keep in mind the two famous photographs by
Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank in which an empty highway extends off to a distant horizon. In an inventive and more visceral way, perhaps suited to a now-photo-saturated culture, Stimac is expressing what it means to travel that road as well.

Throughout his career, Scott Wolniak has used drawing, painting, sculpture, video, and installation to experiment with form and content and their inherent relationships. He utilizes a multidisciplinary practice to undo any formal notions of one medium’s priority over another and the results are an investigation into how art-making can be a template for examining everyday occurrences and experiences. Far from an insular project of the artist in his studio, Wolniak’s constructions remain poetic and vital through an openness and humor. His work often reveals the process with which it was made, simultaneously offering a visceral experience and a conceptual resonance.

At the beginning of 2009, Wolniak presented a series of bleached and folded works on a paper. Titled “Simulated Sunprints,” they simulated natural effects with artificial means. With Afterimage, the artist has pushed his process to its limits, ‘abusing’ the medium to elicit new possibilities both in materiality and image. Individual pieces of colored paper are folded in different patterns and sprayed with bursts of bleach and ink and repeated. Spray paint, acrylic paint and collage are occasionally added afterwards. Folding enhances the fading, staining and final color effect, establishing the distinct structure of each drawing. These pieces are suggestive of natural forms but never depart from abstraction. There are connotations of weather and time, as well as pollution and geography. The bleach brutalizes the paper, damaging it to its core, while producing gorgeous visual transformations. The ink battles the bleach, positive versus negative. Like the sunset that is prettier because of smog, these works are formally intricate meditations on dualism. The artist has further defined this relationship between figuration and abstraction by suggesting, through their parenthetical titles, humorously contrived scenic projections to describe these Rorschach-like compositions.

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- Andrew Rafacz Gallery

835 W. Washington Blvd. Chicago, IL 60607 -

Hours: Closed Monday, Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 11am-5pm

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