Continuing through March 7, 2014
Pattern-based and monochromatic, the work in recent Columbia College MFA grad Nick Albertson’s first exhibition here initially appears to be abstractions. On closer viewing, the subtle blacks and grays of Albertson’s video and photographs accentuate texture and shadow, revealing the forms to be carefully staged, everyday objects. Once these objects become recognizable, what was a series of formal studies is immediately injected with the contexts and connotations that come along with these materials: a sense of detritus.
Here, the subjects being aestheticized and elevated are sourced from those kinds of things that are meant to be used and tossed away: disposable utensils and dishes. In a two-channel video, black and white styrofoam plates silently flit across blank grounds. “Black Straws” features a scattering of said objects resembling the playful “spaghetti paintings” of fellow Chicago artist Scott Reeder, while the sharp, serrated-looking triangles in "Cones 1" and "Cones 2" are actually dramatically lit waxed paper drinking cups. Albertson is deft at locating sublime moments in modest materials, even down to the subtlest of details, like the intentional bowing of the archival pigment prints inside the frames, embracing that graceful curve of the paper that most other artists are compelled to flatten.