chicago

Roger Ackling

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Procedure most assuredly can become its own esthetic, and Roger Ackling’s modest and absorbing sculptures are wrought from a process worth retelling. His usual working method is to roam along beaches looking for washed-up small pieces of wood that have already been formed by human hands to serve sonic function, and then left to their watery fate. Ackling rescues these wooden chips, these orphans of technology, and then determinedly employs a magnifying lens to focus the sun’s rays, “drawing” (burning) rather rigid patterns of parallel lines across their surfaces. He retrieves and reforms, creating something that seems inevitable though it is based on chance. That this bleached and desiccated flotsam and jetsam is pulled from the morass and rehabilitated into art right on the spot (Ackling has no studio) bespeaks an ennobling commitment to a kind of charged recycling—taking the lowest of

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