We are always trying to make interesting connections in grouping the solo shows we present together. Sometimes things fall together so nicely with many natural coincidences. Diem Chau’s small sculptures of carved crayons and pencils / the obvious connection of Steven Carrelli drawing with graphite / and the odd coincidence of Donald Cameron’s color choices, as if his large scale oil paintings on linen were done with…. crayons. All three artists address issues of destruction and fragility, whether it be literal in the ideas and imagery (Cameron and Carrelli), or the idea of extinction and the execution of her diminutive sculptures in such a fragile medium (Chau).
What causes a bridge to fail? Can the same things cause the collapse of a city, a culture or a belief? For the past several years Carrelli has worked on a series of drawings in which common and often disposable objects share an invented space with more valued and durable structures. He is particularly interested in this relationship between the permanent and the temporary, and in these works seeks to create a conscious interaction between what we make, what we preserve and what we discard. The works in this exhibition extend this exploration to the dialectic of ambition and failure. In juxtaposing images of flood and collapse with subjects ranging from Renaissance furniture to rubber bands, these drawings invite reflection on our cultural aspirations for permanence and the inevitability of decline. They are at root a meditation on both the grandeur and the frailty of human enterprises.
Steven Carrelli received his MFA in Painting from Northwestern University in 1995. As a 1995-96 Fulbright scholar, he studied egg tempera painting in Florence, Italy. Carrelli has returned to Italy on many occasions to teach and to work, most recently living in Florence for 18 months in 2005 and 2006. He lives in Chicago with his wife, the painter Louise LeBourgeois, and he currently teaches at DePaul University and Columbia College Chicago. Carrelli has exhibited his work throughout the United States, and his paintings have been reproduced in a variety of publications, including Art Scene Chicago 2000 and New American Paintings. Awards include grants from the Ruth Chenven Foundation of New York, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Union League of Chicago.