Over the course of his career, Chicago-based artist Gaylen Gerber has consistently pursued a project at the intersection of painting and its historical and architectural contexts. No other painter I can think of, with the notable exception of Daniel Buren, has taken the notion of a painting’s “support” so literally. In previous shows at Daniel Hug, Gerber deployed a large, flatly painted gray “backdrop” of stretched canvas that nearly covered a long wall of the gallery. This was designed to allow for the intervention of other artists—Tom Friedman and Joe Scanlan in 2003; Remy Zaugg, B. Wurtz, and Adrien Schiess in 2005—participating at Gerber’s invitation.
Some critics have noted the generosity of Gerber’s project, though the opportunities he presents arrive with strings attached: However subtle and deadpan their portent, these uninflected supports are surely provocations posing as gifts.
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