James Yood

  • Robert Davis + Michael Langlois

    Nothing is more contemporary than retro, the self-aware salvaging of a recent past that is the subject of nostalgia while many of its qualities and questions remain current. The collaborative duo of Chicago artists Robert Davis + Michael Langlois have their version of late 1960s psychedelia so down pat that their exhibition “Looking into the Rays” provided that giddy Austin Powers–like subsumption into a charmed past, though here with some intimations of dissonance and dread. For Davis + Langlois, the late ’60s are every bit as much Altamont as Woodstock.

    The exhibition took its name from a screen

  • Amy Vogel

    The UP—Michigan’s upper peninsula—is about as topographically dramatic as the Midwest gets. Once the site of extensive copper and iron mines, the UP is now kept afloat largely by tourism and recre- ation. Wedged between Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron, it is the site of brutal winters, the target of some of the most severe weather in the continental US. In the summer, though, it’s a sylvan wonderland, with large national forests and hundreds of miles of vacant beaches. Chicago artist Amy Vogel has summered on the UP for the past couple of years, and in her recent exhibition she engaged in

  • Kasmalieva and Djumaliev

    For thousands of years, the trade routes of the Silk Road have linked China and the West. It was almost exclusively the cultures at either end that benefited economically from these routes, and the vast but sparsely populated regions of Central Asia that they traversed came to develop a fascinating quasi-parasitical relationship to the exotic riches that moved through them. The former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan (independent since 1991), a landlocked nation directly west of China, was and is such a place. It is also home to artists Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev, who use photography

  • Scott Short

    Scott Short’s recent paintings are the product of disciplined and structured procedures, the seriousness of which is relieved by a healthy dose of idiosyncratic intervention. Procedure first: For the past nine years, Short has produced all his paintings by taking a letter-size sheet of white, black, or colored construction paper and making a black-and-white photocopy of it. He then makes a photocopy of that photocopy, then a photocopy of that one, continuing this process several hundred times. He makes a slide from one of the late-generation copies and projects it onto a canvas, finally—and

  • Kasarian Dane

    The seemingly imperturbable surfaces of hard-edged geometric abstract painting can conceal deeper passions, and such appears to be the case with the recent work of upstate New York–based Kasarian Dane. Dane’s pictures, which are comprised of stripes of solid color, seem the summa of restraint and condensation. But the tightrope that Dane walks in these fifteen untitled paintings from 2006 is to make reductivism a platform for expansiveness.

    These exercises in delicate rigor begin with Dane’s attitude toward his materials. All his works are painted on thick sheets of aluminum, giving them a heavy,

  • Leslie Baum

    Arguments in favor of zoos—that they preserve and provide opportunities for researching “at risk” species, compensate for diminishing natural habitats, and educate new generations about the diversity of life—always come up against what many consider their inherent cruelty as animal prisons in which every sentence is one of life. Leslie Baum’s recent oil paintings and watercolors take up the subject with a lissome touch, hinting at the tawdry underside of what appear to be bucolic scenes. Baum begins by taking photographs and sometimes making drawings on site, creating disembodied vignettes of

  • Laura Mosquera

    This must have been an annus horribilis for Laura Mosquera, so forlorn and melancholic are the images in her exhibition, called “in the deep end.” Best known for large and sometimes ebullient paintings of young men and women posed against sharply defined abstract backgrounds, the artist here showed only a single painting. Eleven mostly small drawings made up the rest of the show, suggesting that, for Mosquera, hunkering down over a small piece of paper, using colored pencil or graphite, working with knuckles and wrist rather than elbow and shoulder, is more in keeping with her mood than painterly

  • Jo Jackson

    One advantage of creating a narrative within a personal pictorial universe is that you can steer it in any direction you want it to go. Viewers function as voyeurs, witnesses to a mythography they will never fully decode. The work in Jo Jackson’s recent exhibition “Victory Over the Sun” at Kavi Gupta Gallery was of precisely this ilk: A dozen works on paper and a silent, looped, three-minute 16-mm film projection immersed viewers in a self-contained fantasy realm.

    There’s no difficulty in identifying the components of Jackson’s repertoire—her ink drawings and watercolors depict, fairly

  • Richard Rezac

    Giorgio Vasari’s tale about how Paolo Uccello would sit at his desk late into the night, drawing obsessively, refusing his wife’s entreaties to come to bed, muttering, “What a sweet mistress is this perspective,” vividly describes the fascination that geometry holds for some artists. It can become something of a fixation, this immersion in a parallel universe of perfect order, the ceaseless tweaking and elaboration of the architectonics of form, the testing of line in pursuit of visual balance that rapidly becomes a compulsion. In his modestly scaled sculptures and drawings, Richard Rezac

  • Matt Siber

    Matt Siber’s “The Untitled Project,” begun in 2002, chops its way through the forest of signs. Siber photographs urban environments, usually fairly humdrum downtown sites in the US or Europe, then scans his images into a computer and removes every trace of the letters and numbers that are inevitably embedded therein. He then presents that textually denuded cityscape next to (and in one case here, atop) an image of the same size wherein he carefully re-creates to scale every bit of the text he removed from the original photograph, leaving the paper otherwise blank. It’s an act of isolation that

  • Gary Hill

    Of the eight works in Donald Young Gallery’s recent Gary Hill micro-retrospective—dating from 1978 to 2005—Accordions (The Belsunce Recordings, July 2001), 2001–2002, is the largest. A room-filling video installation, its five projectors generate a jarring sequence of images, each staccato snippet accompanied by a dissonant sound track of blips and crackles. Hill shot the footage in Belsunce, a working-class area of Marseilles with a large population of French Algerians. Employing his camera as a tool of casual surveillance, the artist captured short street-life vignettes, zooming in and out

  • Yutaka Sone

    Bringing the outside inside is an established artistic strategy, but rarely is it taken to the lengths Yutaka Sone attains in his recent show at the Renaissance Society, “Forecast: Snow.” Sone transformed its three-thousand-square-foot-plus interior into a timberline wonderland, with a meandering path, a hundred pine trees, and extensive drifts of fake snow. Placed in and around this montanic mock-up were forty-five of his sculptures, paintings, and drawings, all of them reflecting the alpine theme. It was more of a total environment than a simple installation, lining the building’s interior so