Fresh Paint
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Gallery Mornea
I told the charming E.C. Brown in his list that I write on art among other things, but gallery visits have been sparse lately as I've fallen into a slough of political and personal angst.

However, those who also feel this way should get off the couch and go visit Gallery Mornea and restore their faith in art.

This is the place on Davis Street in Evanston that everyone drives by but never stops at since 1) they're in the wrong lane to pull over even if they see parking because some mammoth SUV is climbing up their bumper while drinking Starbucks and talking on the cell, or 2) can't remember, because I'm caught up in the image above.

I'm sorry, folks, but you must stop by, even if you must inconvenience an H2 or so. There is terrific stuff in this place. I'm particularly sorry I missed the last show by the collaboration team Goldmine Shithouse (David Hochbaum, Travis Lindquist and Colin Burns).

As Richard Davis, the manager, tells me, this group of 3 guys lived in the gallery (no, literally lived) for 10 days and created about 40 pieces of art, ranging from big, wall-size to sofa-size to just right for a corner. As the handout puts it
Their Goldmine Shithouse work deals with violent and difficult themes, filtered through their inexhaustible sense of humor.... There are reoccurring themes and symbols throughout the work, including death, bunnies, ladders to nowhere, black hearts, and clouds, among many others.... The work is started by one artist, then passed on, or put aside until picked up by another and so on....
More about the show here.

Ok, so from the wild to the sublime in the latest show of prints (running thru August 22). Highlights are works by Steven Hazard, Elizabeth Ockwell and Diane Thodos. More famous artists (including the dead, like Roger Brown) are included, but let me describe some of this work by these folks.

Steven Hazard's etchings are a throwback to a time of devils and bestiaries and things falling from the sky and stairs winding up ziggurats in Babylon, that you could spend your life looking at. Or "Morpho Moose", a colored etching, moose with glorious butterfly ears. He worked on one of the plates for 3 years, according to Davis. Though it's probably tacky to link to a different gallery to show examples, go here anyway, since the Gallery Mornea website is so under construction you can't believe.

While I'm not fond of her architectural prints of Venice or the Paris Opera House, Elizabeth Ockwell's narrow, wide landscapes are something else -- delicate, grounded, preternaturally accurate.

Diane Thodos does monoprints, etchings, and lithos of figures -- expressive and gestural, showing movement through layers of color (I prefer her large colored prints to her b&w ones, though they have a certain -- dare I say it? -- Franz Klinish appeal) as is one in the small "chapel" of prints to the right of the main corridor on which hang some eh, so-so paintings by David Gista (though the old master faces with bar codes are humorous enough).

I may go back later and update this entry. As I was leaving I turned and saw 2 large black and white prints hanging over the stairway, but didn't catch the artist's name.

Enough. It's still a pleasant day out there, and I was on my way back from the store with stretchers and paint when I endangered my health and pulled over, so better get going again.

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