chicago

Ken Warneke

Dart Gallery

This show was dominated by the artist’s near floor-to-ceiling installation of 21 small, framed paintings on one wall, paintings which seemed to chronicle the rather aimless activities of modern life. In image after image, male figures, rendered in a lavender grisaille on a pristine white ground, are shown going about their business with a determined nonchalance that, in the unrelieved aggregate, becomes a kind of despair. Some perform daily chores—sweeping, carrying boxes, combing hair, mowing, carrying bags of garbage—while others sit on toilets, take showers, pray, commit suicide, sculpt, paint, vomit, handle money, or chain-smoke. All life is seen as the same, all human activity interchangeable: existence without priority. Scale is also handled in a random manner, determined solely by the preexisting frames Warneke finds in Chicago resale shops. None of the pictures bears the traces of

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