Border Works

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
Night Mountains (Pine Barrens), 2009 Oil And Enamel On Aluminum, Stainless Nails 72 X 47.5 Inches © Courtesy of the artist and Tony Wight Gallery
Border Works

845 West Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607
May 21st, 2010 - July 3rd, 2010
Opening: June 22nd, 2010 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

West Loop/West Town
Open by appointment


Tony Wight Gallery is pleased to announce Border Works, an exhibition of new paintings by New
York-based artist John Finneran.

Using reflective aluminum grounds and a reduced color palette, John Finneran’s enigmatic paintings merge simple visual motifs—lips, eyes, noses, mussel shells, triangles, and trashcans—with brushy abstraction. The results are at once deeply personal and flatly ubiquitous. The iconic nature of Finneran’s imagery—its repetition and lack of illustrative detail—provides an anchor to the expressionistic and abstract elements of the paintings without locking up the compositions. There is a complex oscillation here; between the painterly and the graphic, one-shot gestures and heavily worked surfaces. Finneran pushes the paintings towards a between space, a space of uncertainty and untethered meaning, a contemplative field without answers.

The central series in the exhibition is LW’s the Sea, which translates statements from a text piece by
Lawrence Weiner into five discreet paintings. Finneran has reordered the statements as titles for his
paintings: To the Sea, Bordering the Sea, At the Sea, On the Sea, and From the Sea. These
paintings are built around the specificity of the language in the titles, the positioning of the self to the
sea. Rather than a pictorial interpretation of Weiner’s piece, Finneran’s paintings offer a psychological interpretation of what the statements feel like.

The title of the exhibition conflates a practical description of a type of spatial device present in the
painting Bordering the Sea—a literal border which describes an interior rectangle set inside the
rectangle of the panel itself—and a perceptual border enforced by the aluminum ground's resistance
to light absorption. Finneran’s metal surfaces are themselves borders, holding us aside from a visual trip to another place. They hold us in front of something like the sea. Immense, impassive and patient.

This is whatever is outside of us, everything besides us.
John Finneran (American, b. 1979) received an MFA from Bard College in 2008 and a BFA from the
Cooper Union in 2002. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Upstairs Berlin (2008) and
Rivington Arms, New York (2006, 2003). Recent group exhibitions include Gavin Brown’s Enterprise,
New York; Arcarde Fine Arts, London; and Fortune Cookie Projects, Singapore. Finneran’s work will
be included in a forthcoming exhibition of works from the Saatchi Collection in London, England.