Linda Warren Projects is honored to ring in the winter season with two solo exhibitions: Lora Fosberg’s “The End of Absurdity” in Gallery Y and Emmett Kerrigan’s “Nest” in Gallery X. These two Chicago-based artists have long been mainstays of the gallery roster, and here, they both present bodies of new work that address differing points of view about the relationships between humans and our natural environment. For Fosberg, humankind’s destruction of nature and nature’s subsequent destructive forces are paramount, while Kerrigan embraces the comfort and beauty of the small doses of nature we enjoy within Chicago’s Midwestern urbanity. In both of their practices, the artists have located the tree as a shared, dual symbol of nature’s resilience as well as its fragility.
In “The End of Absurdity,” Lora Fosberg expounds upon her longstanding preoccupation with disasters and the natural landscape. Her content is overarchingly serious, though her cartoonish depiction of the human figure contributes a note of folly that nods towards the exhibition’s title. Her tiny, identical figures labor and toil like ants, dragging and piling detritus and freshly felled trees. The diminutiveness of the human form is accentuated by the terrifying magnitude of the natural disasters Fosberg depicts within these narrative works. Swirling tornadoes rip through the earth, while vast fires with plumes of smoke consume grid works of urban blocks and towering buildings.
Fosberg’s characteristic line drawings are here enacted upon new mediums for the artist: works on plaster with paper, and carved and pigmented plaster reliefs. The swirls of the cyclones and the billowing smoke are rendered as linear patterns, the seductive tactility of these carved ridges and valleys making, in the artist’s words, “difficult images so beautiful that you almost forget about the abhorrent event” at hand. But, Fosberg’s works are not altogether pessimistic. In the works on paper, beams of color issue from distant sources like rays of hope amidst the chaos, and Fosberg’s sculptures, with their piles of miniature consumer goods and furniture, suggest the kind of collective rebuilding of personal, material possessions that inevitably emerges from amongst the aftermath.