Natural Light

Sept 15 - Oct 27, 2018
Andrew Rafacz, Chicago

White puts the show down low where it belongs, brining visitors into the basement, plush yellow carpet—flattened and darkened and driven down by the procession of people on it, streaked like a burn-out from the efforts of the gallery door—and wood paneling, the ughman cave now a catacomb. This is the milieu of cheap beer and denim and car ads ripped out of magazines on the wall, the natural habitat of the American male, not quite the 70's or 80's but that decade-less liminal age where reality and change lives. Whoever was last in here was chased out, leaving behind nothing but partly burned down cigarettes and Neanderthal scribblings—“No Tits in the Pits;” Mopar or No Car; Road Runner “Super-Bird;” 1967 Shelby Cobra. —B. David Zarley, New American Paintings

Natural Light is kind of a take back. All the years of subtle signals: this isn’t for you; you’re merely the accessory, the decoration. It’s like finding hope in love’s darkest corners, or exploring the personal caverns of one’s devotion. As the American narrative that white men have controlled for the past 200 years careens towards buffoonery and bloat, a certain resolve is necessary. To that end, Natural Light is a scrubbing, a re-organization (mash-up?) of so-called boys-will-be-boys culture. It’s an American panorama of jeans, cars, beer and road tripping.

Keep on Truckin’ (2018) is a multiple-canvas, mixed-media piece measuring more than 18 feet and dominating one wall of the gallery. Comprised of re-purposed jeans, digital prints and dibond wall reliefs, it grapples with the grandness of America’s gestalt by way of counterculture fashion, co-opted from the working class.

A new series of photo works based on vintage advertisements further an exploration into photography while riffing on themes of freedom, hope, and the unfettered American landscape. They were made while the artist traveled by camper van through Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.A functional denim bench is a space for viewers to peruse vintage books, in which nearly each page features a unique intervention. These serve as both travelogue and conceptual metadata for the exhibition.The exhibition’s title, Natural Light, is primarily a riff on photography, but also landscape, and the quintessential popular beer by the same name.