Bill McRight & Alex Lukas & two solo exhibitions
With Prints & Photographs; Copies & Concrete at Breeze Block Gallery, Chicago-based artist Alex Lukas will focus on the involvement of printmaking practices in his ongoing investigation and recontextualization of the familiar American landscape.
In addition to his painting and drawing practice, Lukas is self-taught printmaker with a background in Œzine publishing and non-traditional use of print media. For this exhibition he will present several new editions, a new artists‚ book, diazotypes, sculptures, offset lithographs and unique works based in printmaking as parts of an ambitious installation at the gallery. Eschewing the concept of using print merely as a means of reproducing an already existing image, all of the work presented here is unique to it‚s medium.
A highlight of Prints & Photographs; Copies & Concrete will be the release of a brand new print portfolio created for the exhibition. Containing 12 images all measuring 11 x 17 this edition of 15 will include offset lithographs, screenprints, digital c-prints, diazotypes and unique photocopies.
The exhibition will also feature several of Lukas‚ landscape drawings.
Alex Lukas’ highly detailed works on paper and intricate artists’ books examine a possible future of destruction and violence, coupled with rebirth and a quiet sense of optimism, alongside an examination of the contemporary landscape. His drawings contrast the contemporary reality of post-industrial cities with fictitious portrayals of an impending end-time. Lukas’ work refers to 19th-century grand depictions of the American landscape – where the land we inhabit was a place ripe for discovery questioning the premise of strength and promise inherent in that tradition. Filled with allusions to habitation, Lukas examines how we commemorate our experience of place and the way we communicate outside the digital realm. By declining to answer the pressing question of “What happened?” his images remain devoid of a clear narrative and instead ask viewers to reflect on their own experience, values and concept of loss and re-growth. Lukas’ recent installations have incorporated plant life, florescent lighting, industrial shelving and discarded construction materials. Coupled with diazotypes, unique photocopies and offset lithographs – all recently or almost antiquated methods of reproductions – alongside his drawings, Lukas utilizes these materials and mediums as a means to question traditional depictions of time and narrative, specifically past versus future.
Bill McRight makes work that at first glance gives the impression of a violent and dangerous society. Upon further investigation there are references to childhood, gang culture, punk rock and the working class. His materials are sourced at flea markets, second hand stores and gifted by friends.
Hand-to-hand weapons are much more personal than a gun or bomb and the inherent history of their use before being repurposed helps to influence what they become – often tools of construction turn into tools of destruction.
Owners of Bill McRight‚s shivs can take comfort in that they are suitable for both decorative and home defense purposes.
Skulls are a commonly used subject within McRight‚s imagery. The skull is a reminder of mortality, serves as a meditation on death, and it symbolizes that death is something all humans have in common. It‚s metaphor has always made McRight think of bad assed, tough guy rebels. In some ways this instills fear, but at the same time it inspires admiration and awe. In addition to the weapons, Willing to Lose features a series of ink drawings and metal engravings using tattoo culture for both their narrative and also their visual language. His weapons will incorporate similar imagery either drawn or engraved onto the items themselves.
McRight‚s intention is to make the viewer ask themselves questions and search for answers about a world that makes us think “Wtf? Ftw!”
Bill worked with us back in 2010 and has been a friend of the Obey family for some time. Heres a good interview on Bill along with some of his art from the series