Daniel Senise

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)

Brazilian artist Daniel Senise’s first museum exhibition in the United States reveals an artist whose dogged pursuit of mystery more often than not yields results. Senise begins his paintings by staining, battering, soaking, scumbling, and abrading his raw canvas surfaces until they seem the tortured remnants of age and neglect. By a series of techniques, the results of which suggest frottage, Senise then selectively augments or draws out evocative forms from the mottled skins; over these he layers bits of recognizable imagery—rope, teeth, hands, circles—and occasionally English words or phrases that at first appear to be randomly scattered over chaotic voids.

This jumbled layering of incident creates arenas of ambiguity and wonder; it is as if the literal meanings of individual images had been obscured and overcome by time and subsequent experience. As in eroded frescoes or aged and

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