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Zack Wirsum
Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen

Zack Wirsum, “If These Walls Could Talk They Would Read Out Loud What’s Written in Stone and Built on the Bones,” 2014, acrylic, polyurethane, canvas strips on panel, 20 x 50”.

Continuing through June 21, 2014

Chicago-based artist Zack Wirsum’s paintings are notoriously complex. His is a practice based as much in drawing as the application of paint, and often, where another artist would use one line, Wirsum uses five. Within these labyrinths of twisting, layered contours, narrative vignettes of mythological and historical discovery and adventure can be distinguished from the encrustation of paint and collage.

In this exhibition of new paintings, figure and ground are rendered with equal aesthetic intensity. In works like “If These Walls Could Talk They Would Read Out Loud What's Written in Stone And Built on the Bones,” viewers strain to differentiate which visages the artist intended us to recognize and which, like a Rorschach test, our brains are imagining within the chaos. However, not every piece is composed with this democratic merging of fore- and background. In “Technicolor Twist, Up There Is No Place Like Home, Home Again, I Like To Be Here When I Can,” a (relatively) simply rendered, black and white farmhouse stands in the path of a rainbow-colored cyclone that leaves in its wake a dense, abstract disarray of color and collage — a composition that a viewer could imagine might resemble something akin to the elaborate, spirited manner in which Wirsum creates.

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