You Can’t Fall Off The Floor
Doomsday. Chaos. Destruction. Collapse. Helplessness. Hopelessness. Inertia. Excess. Waste. Hubris. Humor. Irony. Empathy. Humanity. Mother Nature. Beauty. The Tragic. The Silly. The Future. The Past and the Now. These are some of the dueling ideas expressed in Lora Fosberg’s third solo exhibition at the gallery “You Can’t Fall Off the Floor” and Chris Cosnowski’s “Apocalypse” on display in the Project Space, both opening Friday June 25th. These two artists’ ability to give grace to mankind’s foibles and fallacies, our general lameness as a species, has defined much of their work for many years. Their diligent, meticulous, labor-intensive studio practice (Fosberg as a draftsperson, painter and printmaker, Cosnowski as a realist painter) points to a private form of salvation, a personal remedy to escape from all the madness. But as salient as the works’ formal qualities is its ability to communicate weightier ideas. Employing clever, accessible, arguably subversive mechanisms to reach the masses – humor, self-deprecation, beauty and skill – these artists allow us to both tolerate and even embrace our egocentric and destructive selves. Fosberg writes of feeling like we’re “more at a tipping point than ever before” and Cosnowski recalls the late George Carlin's assessment that humanity is "circling the drain". No doubt to all, civilization keeps scraping the bottom of the barrel and vainglory should be at an all time low. So perhaps the pill to remind us that we are both our own worst enemy as well as each other’s only friend is to look closer at our flaws and imperfections and maybe, just maybe… we really won’t like at all what we see but recognize what having a vision can accomplish. And most likely, as Fosberg and Cosnowski and most of us probably feel, for good and for bad, we keep on livin’ like we’re livin’.
ew elements Fosberg introduces to her oeuvre are the exciting large-scale linoleum cut collage pieces that are influenced by a recent personal encounter with a large Anselm Kiefer wood cut. A large percentage of her work, as before, depicts trees and forests, either caressed and revered or chopped down, mauled and obliterated. Her recent move to Bloomington, Indiana – the Hardwood Capital of America – has even further unleashed the unabashed “tree-hugger” in herself, and these large collage pieces - “Right Before No More“ and “The Big Dig Deep“ - allude to her personal surroundings and seeming desire to expand her work into the field of wallpaper – which would fully envelope the viewer in her vision as does her wonderfully adaptable, site- specific, 40 ft. long text-based piece entitled “You Can’t Fall Off The Floor.” Using hundreds of pieces of hand made paper each with hand painted text, each adhered to the wall individually, Fosberg draws from what she calls “the air of now” – words she’s heard from the moment – from other “artists, art critics, politicians, literature, song lyrics, [her] mother, [her] brother, [her] lover...the man on the street” and transcribes them into “history paintings”.
Another fresh treat in the exhibition is Fosberg’s collaborative work with fellow Chicago artist and friend, photographer Liza Berkhoff. Together they have produced some inspiring works like “Dare to Fail”, “I Fall in Love Every Day” and “Yes Can Be Such a Surprise.” Berkhoff collages black and white photographs of factory scenes and street people that Fosberg embellishes with mod rainbow colors and uplifting text that further the all pervasive theme of balancing stark reality with levity and wit.
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