For NADA’s first inaugural Chicago Invitational, Night Gallery is pleased to present a booth of new works by Josh Callaghan, Claire Tabouret, and Marisa Takal.
Josh Callaghan presents new sculptures from his series Cult Figures. This group of concrete and steel objects is loosely based on classical sculptural tropes, in particular the bust, whose cultural function is to commemorate important people. No full figures here; the bust is an efficient, iconic snapshot presentation of the essence of the subject portrayed. As portraits, Cult Figures are indistinct and eroded. They are both decaying and forming. No faces are rendered – the likeness is seemingly lost. But there is personality - humanity. When successful, renderings like these capture a living, breathing aspect of the human subject in concrete and steel. These busts reflect the inevitability of historical entropy – all celebrity will eventually be lost to time. They started as Cultural Figures, but are now Cult Figures, allowing the viewers to fill in the gaps.
Claire Tabouret presents new works on paper from her ongoing series of bather paintings, this time using richly pigmented acrylic paint and aqueous ink. Her works reimagine the time-honored subject of the bather, here using dense but watery color, allowing the artist’s signature gestural strokes to occasionally run or bleed together, evoking water on the surface of the skin. Actual water, meanwhile, is depicted through thick, flat stripes of blue, suggesting space in graphic terms that draws attention to the minimalist bent behind Tabouret’s evocative style. One of the works returns to the group portraits for which she is known, presenting harmonious clusters of individuals whose presences are defined in relation to one another, both through overt physical contact and through the subtle but significant postures they assume within the composition.
Marisa Takal is known for works that combine geometric abstraction with details out of everyday life, conjuring distinctly psychological works that appear like maps of the artist’s consciousness. Her newest works focus on the symbolically rich subject of the closet, fixating on fashion’s ability to create a person’s identity and examining painting’s ability to do the same. Takal writes, “The closet embodies a system of organization, both physical and psychological. It reflects an individual’s way of organizing their clothing, shoes, linens, fears, desires, insecurities. It also conceals parts of themselves that they don’t want to see or what they don’t want others to see, vulnerabilities and secrets… This is the place we go everyday and choose who we want to be for the day, how we express ourselves outwardly. It holds space for how we see ourselves, our bodies, our identities.” In these playful but highly personal works, which the artist has described as a kind of self-portraiture, adornment becomes a means to intimacy.