April 7, 2020
In Allen’s From Dark into Light, and Back Again I (2019), the outline of a diamond-shaped frame opens into the portrait of a woman, framed by waxen hair, whose soft jawline is turned upward from a bare elongated neck. The visage, whose features are barely articulated in hues of warm sepia, appears melded into the image of a full Moon, obscured by the texture of passing clouds. Surrounding the frame, moonflower vines and a coiled serpent are bathed in a desaturated emerald-blue glow. Is she looking away or looking back? As Sarah Lippert writes of French Symbolist Gustav Moreau’s Salomé Dancing before Herod (1874-1876), “She need not look, given that she is the object that is viewed.” Two similar portraits are inverted in Allen’s Refraction (One Million Dead Soldiers) (2019), a diptych whose source is a 1974 performance by Todd Rundgren of A Dream Goes On Forever. In a video accessible online, we see him at a piano, long multicolored hair center parted, adorned in a silver halter top, with blue eyeshadow in the shape of a robber’s mask across his gaze. Yet the reference in the portrait could just as easily be to a work by Dutch Symbolist Antoon van Welie, La Douleur (1895), whose paradoxical expression exists somewhere between suffering and ecstasy. Rundgren sings, “All is silent within my dream / a thousand true loves will live and die / but a dream lives on forever.” As Allen proposes, perhaps this is the fate of Eurydice: in the regeneration of dreams, she is eternal.
September 24, 2018
With 135 exhibits to hit, you’ll never fully explore Expo Chicago, the city’s signature art fair, which runs September 27 to 30 at Navy Pier. But here are three don’t-miss attractions—Infinity chamber: Chilean Iván Navarro’s water-tower-shaped sculptures are eight feet tall but appear to extend forever, thanks to a crafty system of mirrors and neon lights. They’ll be easy to find, they’re right at Navy Pier’s entrance.
September 28, 2018
Adjacent to this deceptive design is Muro, a brick wall which leads the way for the wide range of sculptures which are spread throughout the exhibition hall. This massive block was made by Bosco Sodi, who describes his creative process as “controlled chaos”, often utilizing raw materials and vivid pigments. His name emerges again a little further into the fair at Kasmin Gallery’s booth, which includes one of his famous tower-like pieces made of clay cubes.