Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen
Robert Burnier, ''Graft,'' 2012, primer on aluminum, 19 3/4 x 17''.
Continuing through March 30, 2013
There is an initial delight when discovering that the matte, wall-bound sculptures of Chicago-based artist Robert Burnier are not the artfully crumpled masses of paper they appear to be. In “The Horseless Carriage,” Burnier’s painted aluminum pieces are a marriage of this material illusion with the slight, but still very human hand of the artist. Though Burnier draws formal inspiration from the relatively immaterial world of computerized data and technology, in their final forms these sculptures are resolutely object - voluminous and concrete.
While Burnier’s sculptures defy their medium in order to mimic a different material, the sole work on paper in this exhibition transcends what it is made from. Entitled “Buren via Tuttle,” two digital prints are layered upon one another in such a way that it’s almost impossible for the eye to decipher whether it’s perceiving two collaged layers, or a trompe l'oeil rendering of it. Optical trickery is a key element of Burnier’s work, though fortunately it’s a means to showcase form and craft rather than an end in itself.