Critics’ Picks

Untitled, 2006.

Untitled, 2006.


Steven Husby

Fraction Workspace
1711 N.Honore
September 1–October 6, 2006

Steven Husby’s first solo exhibition in Chicago presents seven works that bring together geometric abstraction with conceptually oriented text painting. Carefully designing each work on the computer, Husby employs sophisticated symmetries, pictorial inversions, and mirroring effects to produce beautifully alien compositions. Through a strictly recursive form of pictorial arrangement, these works distill sets of logical operations into concrete and reflexive systems of internal reference. On one canvas (all works are untitled and dated 2006), ribbons of gray paint are cut away to reveal underlying numerals that recur in adjacent sections of the painting and depict a seductively crystallized realm of digital stasis. With narrow white bands delimiting the borders of each painting, Husby also conflates ground and figural elements with the edges of the support. In another midsize piece, adjacent vertical blue bands fold the delimiting edge of the work into its ground, collapsing the distinction between picture and support by reiterating the edge of the painting as a pictorial element. In windows flanking the entrance of the gallery, two identical works further suggest that Husby’s oeuvre offers infinite permutations of a mathematical set. By employing the numerical elements as sign and form, Husby acknowledges both the abstract nature of numbers and their necessity as the computational code through which to carefully compose the paintings. This results in abstractions that embody all the hyperbolic and nonlinear effects common within our postdigital age.