Art

Split Complementary at The DePaul Art Museum

The opportunity to draw silly comparisons to the work in the exhibition or use the title, Split Complementary — whose handsomely lacquered minimal sculptures and intricate handmade weavings drawings and books primarily by Richard Rezac and Dianna Frid — was too good to pass up.

“Dianna Frid & Richard Rezac: Split Complimentary,” Installation view, Courtesy of DePaul Art Museum.

“Dianna Frid & Richard Rezac: Split Complimentary,” Installation view, Courtesy of DePaul Art Museum.

Split Complementary occupies two levels of the DePaul Art Museum, but also more obviously connects two artists working now, with historical and cross cultural points that marry their works in an unlikely union.

Dianna Frid takes poetic language and allows her hand to redefine the nature of the words used. There is a transferal of meaning when phrases like, “Surely a man can laugh and not be made of laughing particles” is contorted by the corner of a wall and is made visually choppy by varying the color of the letters within the words. The phrase is further reconfigured by the geometric drawing it frames. It becomes less about the cognitive reasoning that goes into actualizing that a laughing person is not made of up laughing, and instead puts forth the notion that human existence is not bound to reason or fact alone. I don’t claim this to be some grand moment in the artist’s oeuvre, quite the contrary. It seems the arch in Frid’s work rooted in down to earthedness.

It is hard to not see Frid as someone who is simply interested in communication and in the ways in which language and syntax are understood, and in turn offer a close or different read. What I can ascertain from this work is its accessibility, or its willingness to make me feel confident in what I attribute to it. It occupies a space where formalism is clearly important, which seems silly to even point out, but there are clear aesthetic considerations and goals being achieved and those goals help to frame it in this mystic space. The work has a quality akin to folk art or craft with this natural academic flavoring.

Rezac’s sculptures are seemingly object forward and design-based. Additionally, they seem to be overwhelmingly academic. Perhaps its Matthew Girson’s decision to include historical images and books that give both artists’ work an academic zing. Notwithstanding, I think these archival things structure the exhibition and Rezac’s pursuits are primarily in academic spheres because of their aesthetic integrities. Parsing out didactic approaches to making sculpture, Rezac has set forth objects to ease and settle the mind amongst the more overtly stimulating work by Frid.

“Dianna Frid & Richard Rezac: Split Complimentary,” Installation view, Courtesy of DePaul Art Museum.

“Dianna Frid & Richard Rezac: Split Complimentary,” Installation view, Courtesy of DePaul Art Museum.

In this pairing, Girson has tactfully surveyed the space between two disciplines and struck common ground amid the clear differences in Frid’s and Rezac’s work.

Split Complementary continues at the DePaul Art Museum through April 24th.

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