“A/B,” Julius Caesar’s first exhibition of the New Year, proposes the concept of a Venn Diagram to negotiate between two sculptures by Naama Arad and Kendall Babl. The structure of the exhibit encouraged Arad and Babl to respond to each other’s work within his or her own.
There’s a switch. Switched on and on and on. A switch in my bathroom doesn’t work so well. You have to really convince it, nudge it, get that sweet spot. Switched, pushed, drained. Where one or two might be enough, Arad pushes hundreds of the tacks in diamonds and rectangle shapes, an over-accomplished task that defeats its purpose. Methodic punctures. I get flashes of punks and bikers with their studded jackets, the riveted garments that adorn rebels. Those shiny beautiful things that are cheap as hell. Arad’s sculpture has a modern disposition smacked with ornamentation.
Suspended in their rows and gridded hammocks of cable and wire, the onions don’t smell today, but could later. I don’t typically just eat whole onions, but they’re edible and I’m human, so I want one. They’ll potentially sprout over the length of the show. A theatre of bulbous layers. There’s some on the floor, fallen through the grid maybe…rebels.
I am thinking through my city body. The boundaries of buildings and business. My eyes are heavy with vertical scrolling, short distance recognition, and linear distinctions. The pushpins in repeating patterns have my focus moving in and out hazily and quickly, and then pausing in silver and gold magnetism. My eyeballs feel the gaseous aura of the white and yellow onions. An invisible tiny sting glazes my gaze. Sweet. Sharp. These fingers aren’t dirty because they haven’t been pushed into the ground lately. These onions are in mid-air still. White paper blocks and mosaic metal. Rootless and clean.
A/B is on view at Julius Caesar Gallery, 3311 W. Carroll Avenue, every Sunday 1 – 4pm and by appointment through February 8th. Details can be found at www.juliuscaesarchicago.net. Photos courtesy the artists.